Follows is an excerpt from the article:
"...The man with the money-filled briefcase, according to a search warrant, was Ted Thomas, 32. The Ohio Attorney General's Office says Ted and his wife, Kara, 29, ran a multistate telemarketing scheme from their Dunedin home that bilked thousands of elderly people across the country out of millions of dollars. The Thomases ran companies that called owners of vacant desert land, authorities said, and convinced them they could sell the land for 10 to 15 times its value in exchange for an upfront fee..."
The true problem facing consumers is that this type of crime isn't likely to decrease anytime soon. Florida telemarketing companies accused of fraudulent sales tactics rarely face criminal charges. The Florida Attorney General's Office primarily pursues them through civil lawsuits, and many of these "business owners" simply consider the fines and penalties part of the cost of doing business. Most other states also have similar laws. Criminal charges and imprisonment are rare.
As usual, consumer education and a healthy dose of skepticism are still the public's best defense against upfront fee scams. If you are a timeshare owner, or have family that owns a vacation ownership property- please take the time to help promote and spread awareness of these crimes. An easy way to do so is to add a link to your personal websites, facebook pages, and other social media pages to http://vacation-times.org/scam-alerts.html. I will also be happy to send you links to the many timeshare scam alerts that have been posted herein if you would like to create a scam alert page on your own website. Your help and patronage will be truly appreciated!