“The scope was unreal” “The scope was unreal” When everything hit the fan for Royal Club International in 2004, there was, understandably, some negative media  surrounding the criminal charges that had been laid against Andre Muran and his companies. Muran wasted no time in  taking measures to protect his lucrative business. The Royal Club International signs at offices in Calgary and Edmonton came down and were replaced with “Chateau World”  signs. The telephone numbers, addresses, marketing materials and staff all remained the same. What changed was the name. The registration documents for the corporation did not list Andre Muran as the Director. This was a first; up until that time, all  of the corporations involved in the massive web of deceit listed Muran as the Director.  With the negative news reports and charges against him however, a shift was necessary. The new corporation listed Earl Fernandez and Gerard D’Souza as the Directors of the new corporate entity... but the staff  all continued to consider Andre Muran as “the boss”.  By the time the criminal charges were laid to rest in 2007, Chateau World was included in the Undertaking that was agreed  to in a plea deal, and Earl Fernandez and Gerard D’Souza’s signatures appear on that document along with Andre Muran.  (click here to see the Undertaking.) The addresses for Fernandez and D’Souza are none other than the legal office of one  W. Murray Smith.  Come mid 2008, Chateau World was again under investigation by Service Alberta. The investigation lasted well into 2011  This time, an investigator from Service Alberta attended a meeting where in, the deception and fraud was clearly laid out for  members who were confused about what had been going on. The meeting was held in Calgary in May of 2010. Having see  the presentation and addressing concerns from those in attendance, Miles Partington said “I did not realize the extent of the  matter until now, but we will definitely be looking into this more deeply.” At that time, Miles Partington promised those in  attendance that the investigation would take on a new impetus and that if, in the course of the investigation, they found  evidence for fraud, Andre Muran et. al. would be charged criminally for same.  Chateau World, long after it’s demise, continued collecting “membership fees” and “maintenance fees” from members who  were not aware that “the club” was, for all intents and purposes, defunct.  Along with the money taken at that time, Andre Muran and friends withdrew the entire membership’s 3 year point inventory  from RCI- leaving those members who were also enrolled in the RCI program, with nothing to vacation on.  RCI was allegedly told by the Chateau World folks that their members wanted to move to another vacation exchange  company. The points were liquidated and Andre Muran and friends took the money from that as well. Of course, those RCI  points never belonged to Chateau World- they belonged to the individual members whose accounts they were taken from.    The named directors changed over time. At the last search we did, W. Murray Smith was named as President of Chateau World. As recently as July of 2011, listings for Chateau World time-shares have been popping up on various timeshare sales sites around the web. Chateau World of Vacations is listed as the seller and the Banff Gate Mountain Lodge and Spa is the property that it claims to be offering. Be advised: The property is not owned by Chateau World. There is no timeshare being operated on the property. It is currently owned and under the supervision of lenders who foreclosed on the property. How Were Consumers Mislead? The videos below are Part I and Part II of Chateau World’s sales training video. It is an  actual sales presentation that was held in Edmonton circa 2007.   At this time, Andre Muran and the named Directors of Chateau World had entered into a  plea agreement with prosecutors in relation to 125 charges that had been laid in 2004.  Units at Chateau Canmore and the Banff Gate Mountain Lodge and Spa had units that  were being foreclosed on. With over 6000 members, the resort properties that Chateau World still had access to at  the time, were severely over sold. The Banff Gate Mountain Lodge and Spa would be  struck from the corporate registry the following year; Still, no license to operate a travel  club had been applied for (let alone obtained). We do not know what, if anything, the sales person in the video knew at the time. It has  been suggested that many of the staff were unaware of the fraud; That they believed they were selling a legitimate club which was operating properly.  We would certainly like,  very much, to hear from him.  There are similarities in this video with legitimate timeshare presentations. The  similarities with other presentations do not necessarily mean that others are also  fraudulent. The similarities with legitimate timeshare presentations was however, part of  how Chateau World fooled consumers and induced them to purchase memberships.
Part I Part II © L.Goodwin 2011-2012