WATER ISLAND FRAUD - Travelers BEWARE
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I have NEVER written negative review online before, but in this case I felt like I had a moral obligation to do so...
This properties and all other properties listed by this individual Mark are FRAUDULENT. They are called "Pirates Ridge", "Dolphin Suite", "Mermaid Villas".
The photos are ALL photoshopped. We arrived for our stay 1/4/14 and the units were NO WHERE near completion. He could not even let us in to this "Dolphin Suite". The other two units were uninhabitable. The pool has never held water. The owner Mark apologized and told us he would refund our money. HE HAS NOT. We have filed claims with Visa as well as Paypal and other agencies. We have it in WRITING that he will give us a full refund due to all of his units not being completed.
We ran into other people who were supposed to stay here as well and lost ALL THEIR MONEY as the toilets in their units were not even installed or able to flush. AGAIN - photos are PHOTOSHOPPED!! BEWARE!
If you are still considering just GOOGLE it!!! We are not the only ones whose money he stole!!! I hope this helps someone!
This bum is a FRAUD and embarassment to Water Islanders and travellers. There is no pool, no spa, no fire pit or BBQ. The rooms and plumbing and electric are unfinished and will be for a year or more. No Certificate of Occupancy or Fire Marshall Certificate. He currently has no business license, no liquor license, no food handlers permit, files no gross receipts tax and has defrauded countless VI businesses and services for over the past years. Do not eat at this Pirates Ridge or engage this Mark W Pippen in any business. BEWARE!!!Why he is not under arrest is because there is no room left in the PSYCHO Ward.
We had the exact same experience as Berkom except that he did pay someone else on the island that took us in. We were actually surprised that he paid her and it took several threats for this to happen. He still owes us deposits, cleaning fees etc but I'm sure that we will never see this money and we certainly didn't receive the accommodations that we paid for.
It's really ashamed that this guy is still allowed to operate on this island because it hurts the reputation and Water Island is a great place with wonderful people. Hopefully everyone will wise up and call this guy out and stop supporting his fraudulent activity.
Has anyone who's had issues with this man's property contacted the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs to report him? If the facts as stated are true then these are serious violations.
Contact the Dept. of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and report him.
Prop. & Procurement Bldg.
8201 Sub Base, Suite 1
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: (340) 774-3130
In my search for Mark W Pippen's "Architecture Awards", I found this...WWW.modelmahem#1208329
He has no reviews posted on his vrbo site so some unlucky people will be the next to be scammed:
Y'all need to write a review on VRBO and call DLCA.
You may well wish to complain to VRBO as well since he is using their site to advertise to draw in his renters/victims.
He had a very negative, one star review on VRBO. He either got it removed or got rid of his old listing and created a new one to hide that review.
We wrote a negative review also and waited and waited for it to post. VRBO never posted it but removed the villa listing. Unfortunately he has another listing of just the one Mermaid Villa and it is full of lies also. We will try to post under that one but VRBO might not post it. We will try to contact them again and also DLCA.
Good Luck. I hope something can be done to get your money back and prevent others from being taken in with this scam.
I have the same sentiments as Alana and advice she and STT Resident have given you.
I'm wondering what the other Water Island residents have to say about this unfortunate situation that he is putting on the renters and then on the Water Island residents because of what he is doing.
Did islandshe and berkom go to the VRBO Security Center? To report FRAUD on both VRBO and HomeAway:
Call 877-228-3145 7AM - 7PM Central Standard Time
Have available: Listing #507872vb name: Mark W. Pippen and phone 340.473.6722.
I’m also a member of the Mermaid Lagoon / Mark Pippen scam. But I’m a little different. My story:
I run a scuba company in Chicago now but lived in STT for about 9 months in 2011-2012. Although I never got to Water Island, I’m very familiar with STT and retained friends there. I booked a trip for our group to travel over the 4th of July week. I found Mermaid Lagoon through Homeaway, spoke with Mark Pippen and booked our week. I also sent $1700 for a deposit.
After our spring trip, I began to make preparations for this summer trip including the next payment. I stumbled across the reviews online and panicked. I quickly created a plan of action. Unlike the others, I knew about this problem before arriving and before paying the entire rent. I managed to re-book our housing, at a bit of a greater expense and minus our deposit.
I spoke with Mark again, but only after several calls and emails AND a call to VRBO Security Center. I was quite cordial and he admitted construction delays (yeah, right) and offered to return my deposit. He gave an excuse about a long delay to receive a check from Texas and forward to me. I directed him to give it to a local friend (and former employer) in the area.
A couple weeks later, still no check. My contacts discovered that he is under local investigation. USVI police are notoriously slow and corrupt – I hold little hope at the moment. I also engaged my resources here and began a program of calling and emailing at all hours – until he finally disconnected his phone.
I had hoped to visit him during our trip – but with 15 people to manage, my time became scarce. (We did have a great time, lots of wonderful diving, a beautiful home and fun excursions – overall, a happy group). Still I managed to discover important information while on island:
• Up to 2 years ago, Mark Pippen was a respected resident of Water Island. A divorce has changed all of that. He now owes money to most people that know him, bounces checks to those foolish enough to accept one and has grown reclusive;
• He does business through an entity called White Lion Enterprises;
• He owns the property of the villa and the deli, which has a small $36K mortgage dated back to 2001;
• He holds at least two bank accounts at a US national bank – I have the account number for one of them.
I managed to speak to Heidi, owner of the main business on Water Island. Mark Pippen is giving the island a bad name and nobody wants him around.
My proposal: Let’s organize. Construct a single letter with exhibits outlining his fraud and forward to local authorities, but also the local US Attorney (I now two lawyers in the office on STT – they are scuba divers that I have worked with years ago). Let’s hire a single attorney to bring a bunch of civil actions – I can refer one, or we can select together. An attorney will accept our collective cases on a contingency basis because there is property and banks that can be liened. Maybe we even force the sale after obtaining judgments so someone on Water Island can develop the land and turn it into the island asset it should be while ridding the island of Mark Pippen.
I may sound angry and resentful. I am. But this man continues to run this scam. (VRBO and Homeaway have barred him but I found another listing on another website.) He defrauds innocent travelers of large sums of money and then leaves them stranded on a remote island. He is a menace to his community and the travelling community at large.
Even if your credit card and bank refunded some or all of your money, you can pursue this action. You would be required to reimburse that entity for any losses exceeding those not reimbursed.
Ultimately, you can make a difference. And you should.
My direct email is [email protected]. Feel free to contact me directly. Let’s put this to an end.