It’s worth noting that Harlequin Hotels and Resorts was one of the first unregulated pension investment schemes to have fallen foul of the authorities, but the way it was sold is something of a template for the many other schemes that followed. Unfortunately, by the time any wrongdoing had been detected, it was far too late for some of the unfortunate investors.
The footprints of this scheme are all too familiar now; unwitting victims were persuaded by the promise of higher yields on their savings, they saw a chance to increase their financial holdings ready for a comfortable retirement and they were told how safe the investment would be. And as in many other cases, those who sold the scheme so rigorously were able to make a great deal of money thanks to generous commissions.
Harlequin Hotels and Resorts offered investment into luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, including Buccament Bay in St Vincent. As well as the promise of high returns on their investments, people were also promised the use of these extremely attractive venues. There were a number of well-known celebrities who were brought in to add glamour and respectability to the scheme, although it should be pointed out they were unwitting accomplices, believing the whole thing was fair and above board.
This particular scheme seemed even more attractive because of the link to a glamorous lifestyle, a glorious sun-kissed location and a sense of luxury that gave it all a tinge of excitement. It all seemed too good to be true, and in the end that’s exactly what it was.