David Ames is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in March. The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO charged David Ames, chairman of the Harlequin Group of companies, with three counts of fraud by abuse of position, contrary to section one of the Fraud Act 2006.
It followed a four-year investigation by the SFO, with Essex Police, into the group of companies.
The Harlequin Property scheme had endorsements from celebrities including former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash, golf legend Gary Player, football pundit Andy Townsend, TV property guru Phil Spender, and Liverpool Football Club.
Off-plan properties are those that are purchased by an investor before they have been developed or completed.
Ames, 65, a former double-glazing salesman from Wickford, Essex, began selling the properties at planned resorts across St Vincent, St Lucia, and Barbados, but many were never built, it is claimed by the SFO.
Resorts were endorsed or advertised by a number of celebrities, including Cash who put his name to a tennis academy at the flagship Buccament Bay resort in St Vincent, which was partially built.
The SFO says the alleged activity occurred between January 2010 and June 2015, and, despite the charges being brought, the investigation continues, it said.
More than 6,000 units are believed to have been bought, with many people using Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) or life savings for the investments.
An SFO spokesman said: “The business activity of the Harlequin Group includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations.