When the 10 years is up the house in Cyprus would be yours for good.
Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of takers who poured in nearly £3million between them.
Two years later, the four sites around Paphos are still just that – building sites.
The developer Ian Beaumont has done a runner and some victims don’t even own the land he left behind.
Scores of Brits shelled out on average £60,000 towards the final cost of the properties. What they got is worth far less.
Peter Bayliss, from Southampton, paid a deposit of £48,000 for a three-bedroom townhouse.
“We did all the research we could and were assured that he had built previous developments and would deliver. But two years down the line there is still no sign of building.”
Dave Goodman, of Desborough, Northants, also paid £48,000 and said: “I’ve lost the lot.”
Jon Fox, from Huddersfield, West Yorks, paid £75,000 for his house but says he has no idea what happened to his money: “There’s a trail of lies and deceit.”
Some victims paid their money into the account of Beaumont’s firm J&I Estates at the Birmingham branch of Laiki Bank.
BUT most paid their deposits into a UK account held by J&I’s “sole agents” Peter Stephenson Properties.
Andrew Nolan was PSP’s Paphos branch manager at the time and insists he was not to blame. He says J&I built its offices in Paphos and came highly recommended.
Nolan added that individual investors were responsible for hiring their own solicitor to check whether the prices were fair and if the land and building permits were secure.
We last met Nolan four years ago, after he was banned from serving as a company director for the maximum possible 15 years.
A judge then branded Nolan a “complete fraudster” after his insurance company One Call Insure Direct went bust with debts of £2.3m.
Accountants found a £722,000 black hole in the company’s accounts but Nolan had fled to his villa in Cyprus.
He’d already clocked up a four-year boardroom ban in 1993 when his CCTV outfit Crimewatch (UK) was shut down with debts of £100,000.
Now working in the UK as PSP’s development manager, Nolan says it banked £2.2m for J&I but passed it all on Beaumont.
He says he was due to earn 10 per cent commission but actually only got 6.7 per cent before J&I went under.
“It is not unusual for late delivery of properties and several other developers are currently a year or more late in delivering homes,” he adds.
Hardly what you want to hear from your estate agent but neither is this: “The clients have not lost all their money but it is horribly tied up in the land and will be some time, probably years, before it is all sorted out.”
He says that a deal is being hammered out for victims to get their money back at some point. We’d love to speak to Beaumont about this and we’re not the only ones.
We know that he admitted to investors last November that he didn’t have enough money left to build their homes.
According to Nolan, Beaumont blamed Cypriots for delays and spiralling costs.
Beaumont is apparently in the Czech Republic, starting a new life. Unlike his victims.
Penman & Sommerlad 21st June 2007