Costa del Sol-based Muldoon, 64, and his wife Kim were accused of leading an operation that conned £9million from hundreds of timeshare owners.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Kim Muldoon, believed to have headed to Turkey, and six other members of the gang after they missed a court hearing in Malaga, Spain, brought by 300 mainly British claimants.
Maidstone-born Toni Muldoon and nine other defendants were given suspended sentences of under two years on condition that they repaid £438,000 within two years. Six pleaded guilty to fraud, the rest agreed to charges of illicit association and received a one-year suspended prison term.
The scam was run from call centres in Fuengirola from 2001 to 2006. Britons seeking to offload overpriced timeshares were contacted by telesales staff from companies including Screenit and Platinum Properties and offered an enticing rate after being told a buyer was interested.
An upfront fee of about £1,200 was then demanded for the sale management, never to be seen again. Twenty-six other companies, all linked to Muldoon, presented a fresh front for the racket, allowing it to run unchecked. A follow-up scam by company Conectese, run by Scotsman Richard Bain, saw the timeshare victims offered “legal assistance” for £250 to get their money back.
Lawyer Antonio Flores, of Marbella firm Lawbird, who represented 160 British claimants, said: “The amount the claimants were defrauded is considered only a fraction of all those who were swindled. This was a multi- million-pound scam. Muldoon is just horrible. He’s a natural-born conman.”
Victim Victor Jacobs, 89, of Hauxton, Cambridgeshire, said he was conned by “crooks”. The former engineer and his wife Peggy, also 89, received a call in 2001 from a Muldoon-linked company offering to sell their timeshare.
Thousands of victims are thought to have funded Muldoon’s lavish lifestyle which includes a mansion in Benalmadena. He wrote on social networking site Bebo: “I love the fact that my work is not work. It is my passion and as I feel I am also good at it that makes me a happy man.”
Muldoon has been linked to more than 50 companies based in the UK, Spain and offshore, part of a huge international racket investigated by Interpol. He is also understood to be wanted in the UK in connection with two scams which netted £6million, after 15,000 victims paid upfront fees to websites promising debt elimination and a string of escort work.