A federal district court entered final orders against the three primary individual defendants—Andris Pukke, Peter Baker, and Luke Chadwick, and related corporations—in the Federal Trade Commission’s case involving the allegedly deceptive sale of real estate properties in Belize to U.S. consumers.
The orders announced today finalize a September 2020 memorandum opinion requiring Pukke and Baker jointly to pay $120.2 million to the Commission—representing the amount of money consumers lost through the Sanctuary Belize real estate development scheme—with Chadwick also jointly responsible for $91.9 million of that amount. The FTC plans to use the money collected to provide refunds to defrauded consumers.
The court’s final order against Pukke, Baker, and Chadwick also bans Pukke from selling or assisting others in selling most real estate, and ban all three defendants from any involvement with Sanctuary Belize or related entities in the future. The order also bans the three defendants from telemarketing and prohibits them from making misrepresentations to consumers.
According to the FTC, Pukke, Baker, and Chadwick controlled, or illegally benefitted from, the deceptive marketing of the Sanctuary Belize real estate development in remote southern Belize. In November 2018, the FTC filed a complaint alleging the three individuals, along with dozens of other corporate and individual defendants, deceived U.S. consumers regarding the amenities that the development would have, how soon it would be completed, and the ability to re-sell lots.
The court also entered a final default order and monetary judgment against defendants John Usher, 14 corporate entities, and the estate of Andris Pukke’s father, John Pukke. The default order bans these defendants from most real estate sales; permanently bans them from telemarketing; prohibits them from making misrepresentations to consumers; and imposes financial judgments of $120.2 million against Usher and the corporate entities, and $830,000 against the estate of John Pukke.
Lastly, the court issued a final contempt order holding defendants Pukke, Baker, and Usher in contempt of court for violating a prior court order prohibiting them from making misrepresentations while telemarketing. The court also determined that Pukke failed to comply with the monetary relief provisions of an earlier FTC case in which he was involved, called AmeriDebt. The final contempt order enters a $172 million AmeriDebt judgment against Pukke, and a separate $120.2 million judgment against the three defendants.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.