Buy, Sell, & Rent Timeshare Condos
 
KGTV, and ABC affiliate out of San Diego has reported a possible timeshare scam involving a company using the name SD TLC Resorts.  The television station had an earlier report, and in that instance were able to obtain refunds for some customers who had reported that they had been scammed. However, according to a new story it appears the business and it's owner Bob Climber continued to operate the scheme and as a result more consumers are now filing complaints claiming fraud.

An excerpt from the report is below:

"... More upset customers contacted Team 10 about a timeshare company they said ripped them off. In August, Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance already got SD TLC Resorts to refund thousands of dollars to a group of customers. However, Team 10 is now asking where the rest of the refunds are.....

Team 10 first revealed the issues with the company in August. Several customers told Team 10 they paid thousands of dollars to the company and never got their timeshare. Climber's attorney, Allen Cate, promised refunds were coming and the people who contacted Team 10 were paid back.  New clients, like Masters, started contacting Team 10 as well. Masters said Climber always had an excuse about her refund....

The SD TLC Resorts office in Oceanside is now empty..... Team 10 is waiting to hear back from Climber."

Click here to read the full article.
 
 
Two leading timeshare developers have agreed to make policy changes that will have a major impact on the timeshare industry in the state of New York. Hilton Resorts Corporation and Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc. will implement changes that will “benefit and protect customers” after reaching agreements with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, according to a statement from the attorney general released today. 

(View the press release by clicking HERE. )

Hilton has agreed to stop using a clause that disclaims responsibility for representations made by sales people regarding the availability, hotel use rights, rental resale and buybacks of timeshare interests. 

Wyndham has agreed that they will no longer offer reservation certificates to members who want to make a reservation at a timeshare hotel known as Midtown 45. Some of the timeshare members who received certificates thought that they were buying an interest in the Midtown 45 timeshare.

 “The purchase of an interest in a timeshare can be a confusing and expensive proposition,” Schneiderman said in the statement. “I am pleased to announce that these two industry leaders have agreed to make policy changes that will benefit and protect consumers. With their cooperation, we are making the timeshare industry safer, more transparent, and more accessible to investors.” 

The agreements come as the attorney general continues an investigation into Ian Bruce Eichner’s timeshare company the Manhattan Club, where Schneiderman’s office temporarily forbid sales in July. Eichner and his partners were asked to testify in court about alleged fraudulent sales tactics. 
 
 
David Andrew Glynn pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia, to conspiring to defraud timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. Glynn said he set up a bogus company, Mountain State Resales LLC, that was purportedly in the business of brokering timeshare sales. He and his associates would contact timeshare owners and advise them the company had buyers for their timeshares, provided the owners would pay fees and expenses necessary to complete the sales.

Glynn also admitted that he contacted timeshare owners who had been victims of prior fraud schemes and in those calls he posed as an agent with Internal Revenue Recovery Associates, a fake business he claimed was affiliated with a governmental agency. Glynn represented that he was investigating timeshare fraud schemes and needed the victims to send money to assist with its recovery efforts, Goodwin said.

During his plea hearing, Glynn admitted that Mountain State Resale was not a legitimate business and had simply been created to defraud owners of timeshares. He said he'd received more than $86,000 from the scams.

As part of his plea agreement, Glynn must make full restitution to his victims. Sentencing was set for Nov. 24. 
The investigation of this case was handled by West Virginia State Police, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith George Thomas overseeing his prosecution.

 
 
In May 2013, the FTC alleged that Resort Property Depot Inc. and Narendra “Nick” Patel made unsolicited telemarketing calls to timeshare owners and tricked them into paying fees ranging from $300 to $3,000, and that Resort Solution Trust Inc., Lincoln Renwick II, and Anthony Talavera deceived thousands of consumers into paying advance fees ranging between $800 and $3,400. Consumers did not receive what they were promised, and they were denied refunds. The court subsequently halted the defendants’ allegedly deceptive practices, froze their assets, and put the companies into receivership pending litigation.

Under both settlement orders, in addition to the ban on selling timeshare resale services, the defendants are permanently prohibited from telemarketing, misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, collecting money from customers, selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers’ personal information, and failing to properly dispose of customer information.

The settlement order against Resort Property Depot and Patel imposes a judgment of more than $2.6 million, which will be suspended  when the defendants have paid $175,000 to the Commission and Patel has surrendered his car and certain bank and investment accounts. A default judgment was entered against Resort Solution Trust in December 2013. The settlement order announced today against Renwick and Talavera imposes a judgment of more than $6.4 million, which will be suspended when Renwick has transferred to the FTC possession of bank accounts and a car. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final orders was 5-0. The orders against Resort Property Depot, and against Renwick and Talavera, were entered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on July 1, 2014, and June 25, 2014, respectively.

 
 
According to the complaint filed by the FTC and Florida’s Attorney General in the Universal Timeshare case, the defendants claimed they had buyers who would pay a specified price for consumers’ timeshare properties, or that the defendants would quickly sell those timeshares, and charged consumers up to $2,200 in connection with the promised sale.  In fact, the defendants did not have buyers lined up to pay any price for consumers’ timeshares. Sheldon Lee Cohen, who resides and operates a telemarketing business in the Dominican Republic, was the mastermind and main perpetrator behind this scam.

The complaint charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), including calling consumers with numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry, as well as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Florida Timeshare Resale Accountability Act. The court subsequently halted the defendants’ deceptive practices, froze their U.S. assets, and appointed a receiver over the two companies, and over Cohen, when doing business as Universal Timeshare Sales Associates and M.G.M. Universal Timeshares, pending litigation.

Under the court order, all of the defendants are banned from selling timeshare resale services. They also are prohibited from violating the TSR and two Florida laws, and from misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, including the total cost, any restrictions, the nature or terms of a refund or cancellation policy, and the income likely to be realized. The defaulting defendants (Cohen and his company, Vacation Communications Group LLC) are also banned from telemarketing.

The order imposes a judgment of more than $1.2 million against the settling defendants (Tammie Lynn Cline, Mark Russell Gardner, and their former telemarketing company, Gardner Cline LLC), which will be suspended based on their inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition. The judgment for $10.2 million against the defaulting defendants is immediately due and payable upon entry of the court order.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The judgment was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, on June 16, 2014.

 
 
A former employee of The Vacation Ownership Group LLC, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution for conspiring to defraud owners of timeshare properties, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Eric Reilly, 34, of Galloway, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Reilly entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman, who also imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The Vacation Ownership Group, a/k/a VO Group LLC, purported to offer owners of timeshares consulting services, including timeshare cancellation services. In September 2010, Reilly started working at the VO Group and was trained by VO Group managers to call using a prepared script and regularly lie to customers. Reilly would falsely state he was calling in response to a complaint they had made to timeshare developers and lenders. He gave customers the false impression that he was working for Wyndham Vacation Resorts, a developer of timeshare resorts. Reilly then would falsely represent that the VO Group could pay off the customers’ timeshares or have their timeshares cancelled. Reilly falsely told some customers that their credit would not be damaged if they stopped paying for their timeshares. Reilly gave some customers “references” who were actually VO Group employees posing as satisfied customers. After hearing Reilly’s false representations, some customers sent checks to the VO Group, including one customer who sent the VO Group a $31,385 check. Reilly admitted to causing more than $70,000 in losses.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Reilly to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $3,040,767.54 in restitution.

 
 
A reader submitted the following scam alert about a possible version of the Mexican timeshare tax scheme:

"... It's the Mexican tax scam. Mid-West Global Advisors contacted us with an offer to purchase stating they had a buyer. We were contacted by Continental Escrow Co. with the paperwork. They called us back saying Mexico required taxes to be paid. I said to take them out of the closing costs. He said that was impossible. We declined to continue the sale. .."   Deborah K.

If you believe you have been victimized by this group, please report the crime at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.


 
 
An Orange County woman is facing a laundry list of charges after investigators said she helped run an unlicensed telemarketing business that scammed timeshare owners. Investigators with the Department of Agriculture said Jennifer Bacon and her partner, Carmen Rodriguez, both ran a company called RCIJB Worldwide Enterprise Inc. They allegedly scammed timeshare owners by claiming to have a buyer for their timeshare. The victims paid the requested fees, but their timeshares were never sold.

Bacon was arrested for a similar crime in 2012. Rodriguez was also charged for the previous scam and is currently serving time for it.  Bacon was arrested Thursday and is being held on a $101,500 bond.

 
 
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Pasquale Pappalardo, 60, of Coral Springs, Florida, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison, with three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,061,401 and forfeiture of $3,500,000. Pappalardo was previously convicted in November 2013 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956. Co-defendant Audwin Lovinsky, 35, of Tamarac, Florida, was also sentenced today to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $34,635. Lovinsky was previously convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.

In all, 41 defendants were charged for their involvement with a timeshare resale telemarketing room called Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group Inc. (TMMMG). The other defendants were charged in Case Nos. 11-60190-Cr-Cohn, 11-60247-Cr-Marra, 11-60268-Cr-Hurley, 12-60019-Cr-Scola, 13-60049-Cr-Dimitrouleas, 12-60149-Cr-Scola, 13-60154-Cr-Scola, and 13-60155-Cr-Dimitrouleas. Aside from the two defendants who were sentenced today, 37defendants previously pled guilty, one is awaiting trial, and one is deceased.

According to the evidence presented at trial, in February 2009, Pasquale Pappalardo, also known to the witnesses as “Patsy U’ Patso” and “Posh,” and Joseph Crapella, also known to witnesses as “Joey Cigars,” started a branch office of Time Share Market Pro (TMP), a timeshare resale business. The testimony at trial was that they knew each other from a previous stint in federal prison. In June 2009, at the direction of Pappalardo and Crapella, their associates took customer files and the electronic database of TMP, among other items, without the knowledge of the owner of TMP.

Pappalardo and Crapella then took the employees and the documents seized from TMP and formed a second timeshare resale company called TMMMG. In November 2009 and January 2010, TMMMG hired salesmen who worked for other fraudulent telemarketing resale companies, including defendant Lovinsky, who used the phone name of Edwin Lovins. Among the lies they would tell timeshare unit owners was that they had sold their timeshare units and that they needed to pay a refundable fee to secure the sale. The salesmen would then ask the timeshare unit owners for a fee of at least $1,996 and as much as $10,000. At no time were there any buyers for the timeshare units. The testimony at trial was that both Pappalardo and Crapella were told about the lies being told by the salesman, but Pappalardo and Crapella would not do anything to stop the salespeople from lying.

During the 10 months that TMMMG was in business, it fraudulently obtained approximately $5,000,000 from about 3,000 customers. Pappalardo received at least $300,000 in checks and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from the money sent by victims of TMMMG.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer would also like to recognize the assistance provided by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.

 
 
Attorney General Chris Koster has issued a press release notifying consumers that he has filed a lawsuit against California-based Timeshare Relief, Inc., and its owner, David MacMillan, for numerous violations of Missouri's No Call laws.

According to the lawsuit, Timeshare Relief made hundreds of automated "robocalls" to Missourians on the No Call list, offering their services to assist the consumers in selling or transferring timeshares. The suit also alleges that the company ignored consumers' requests to stop calling, in further violation of Missouri's telemarketing
law. Koster's office claims to have received more than 100 complaints from Missouri consumers about the company's practices. 

Koster is asking the court to prohibit the company from making any further solicitations to Missouri consumers. He is also seeking penalties of up to $5,000 per violation of the no call law, up to $1,000 per violation of the telemarketing law, and recovery of the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the case. 

Consumers who believe they received harassing telephone solicitations are encouraged to file a complaint at (866) 289-9633.

Missourians can sign up for the No Call list at https://www.ago.mo.gov/nocall.php link or by
calling 866-662-2551.