Buy, Sell, & Rent Timeshare Condos
Two telemarketing executives have pled guilty to a felony count of using a fictitious name as part of a mail-fraud scheme they carried out while selling $40 million in bogus auto-service warranties. Christopher Cowart, 49, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Cris Sagnelli, 45, of Boca Raton, Fla., await sentencing on Oct. 3.

Prosecutors have said Transcontinental Warranty Inc., with Cowart as its president and Sagnelli as vice president, ran the scheme starting in June 2007.  A federal judge ordered that the company halt the use of deceptive "robo-dialer" telemarketing calls telling people their auto warranties were expiring and offering to sell them new service plans.

That injunction followed a successful lawsuit against Transcontinental and another company by the Federal Trade Commission to halt as many as 1 billion automated, random, prerecorded calls about auto-service warranties.

Cowart and Sagnelli, who currently are free on bond, each face up to five years in federal prison and as much as $250,000 in fines. Both could face an additional five years behind bars because the crime also involved telemarketing.

Update: On 8/31/2011 the FTC issued a press release stating that they were going to be refunding more than $3million to consumers who were tricked into purchasing extended service contracts by robo calls from this company. The FTC Press Release can be found HERE.

The Associated Press is reporting that three more individuals who reportedly scammed millions from timeshare owners under the business names Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions. The telemarketing companies are accused of pitching bogus time-share deals and defrauding $30 million from more than 22,000 victims across North America and Puerto Rico.

The latest indictment accuses Ryan Brazel, 31, Steven Folan, 34, and Brian Morris, 45, all of Florida's Palm Beach area, of a dozen counts of mail fraud as well as a conspiracy count. The three defendants were managers of the Florida-based telemarketing companies under owner Jennifer Kirk, who pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Kirk, 31, of Howell, N.J., faces up to a quarter century in prison and $250,000 in fines when she is sentenced Oct. 24.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that employees of the companies falsely told time-share owners in unsolicited calls that they had buyers for their properties. They solicited upfront fees of up to several thousand dollars from victims in purported closing costs they promised to refund when the promised sales closed. But Kirk's companies sold few if any of the time-shares and simply pocketed the upfront fee closing costs, refusing to refund the victims money.