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FTC probe into Sanctuary Belize real estate scam

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says on the beautiful beaches of southern Belize is a development property that it claims has ties to a twice-convicted felon and 23 others who preyed on consumers close to retirement age.

Sanctuary Belize properties go for up to half a million dollars and the federal government say it was all a scam.

"The scheme collected more than $100 million in hard earned savings of unsuspecting consumers for the sales of more than 1,000 lots of land based on false promises,” said James Kohm, director of the Enforcement Division in the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the FTC.

Sanctuary Belize was heavily advertised on TV. The FTC set up a fake website to go undercover for a year and just raided several companies. Now, a federal judge in Maryland issued a temporary order to shut down the project and freeze all of its assets.

Sanctuary Belize claimed it would have world-class dining and shopping, a hotel, hospital, golf course and casino within five years, but after 15 years the community hasn’t been built. Some property owners have lost everything.

"There is a lot of people that I have heard stories have invested their entire retirement funds in there and planned on retiring down there and they just have nothing left," said Frank Balluff who lives in Michigan and purchased a Sanctuary Belize lot.

The 7 On Your Side I-Team reached out to Sanctuary Belize, but so far they have received response. If you purchased property in Sanctuary Belize, you are urged to contact the FTC.

Click here to learn more about the latest into the Sanctuary Belize from the FTC

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