Consumers have reported calls from an individual using the name “Ted Davis”, and claiming to be affiliated with a Tampa brokerage, Timeshare Broker Sales. The caller claims to have a buyer for a timeshare, and promises that payment will be sent by a fake closing company called “Vacation Property Closing Services”. Timeshare owners are asked to sign the contract and to make an advance payment for the closing costs ($1198). Please scrutinize all unsolicited calls, emails, and mailers claiming to rid of your timeshare for a fee. Please call (813) 321-3100 if you have any information, or if you have received a telemarketing call from this con artist.
A new scam alert was just submitted by a reader. This report ties to company names that have been previously reported as possible telemarketing scams, but does include a new website and also details how these con artists will pretend to be employees of, or affilates with, well known brands in the industry to create the illusion of legitimacy. The details of the alert are posted below, but as always- it is vital for timeshare owners to understand that virtually ALL telemarketing calls involving timeshare resales and rentals are fraudulent. Legitimate timeshare brokers DO NOT make unsolicited cold calls!
" A sales person from Interval International called me about unused points in Diamond Resorts International. I was not interested in booking Interval rentals so she passed me on to an agent at Universal Marketing located somewhere in Florida. The agent guaranteed me $1250 for each of the 3 weeks I own of unused Diamond points. The forever membership fee was quoted as $1600 for life. The $1250 is a good price/point, but I am very suspicious, since there are several "Universal Marketing............" named on your scam list. I think that this may be just another renaming of a profitable scam, although I do not have facts to substantiate this. The telephone number given to me was 888-825-0113 and their website given was resortstaydeals.com. Do you have information about the trustworthiness of this timeshare marketing company? "
I checked the website registration and found another familiar name: Summit Marketing out of Longwood, Florida. You can view a prior scam alert posted in 2011 for this business HERE. I urged the reader to be very cautious and provided him with a valid contact information to Interval International. He responded later in the day to say that representatives of the exchange company had not contacted him and that there was no affiliation with the telemarketer who had called him.
"Dear Mr. Marquette,
Thank you very much for your most prompt reply. I have contacted two different offices at Interval International, and both responses were the same. They have not contacted me in several months. They also stated that what I described is never done by Interval. Thus the calls must have been part of a phishing expedition, and I am very appreciative of your interest, help, and recommendations. Please feel free to use my inquiry on your potential scams list. Many thanks to Vacation-Times.org, which I keep on my favorites list for ready reference.
Deborah Wagner, a partner at the law firm of Wagner & Hyman in Williamsburg, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud on Sept. 9 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prosecutors believe she used the law firm as a front to conduct a timeshare transfer scheme from 2011 to 2013.
According to a government press release (read the full release by clicking HERE), Ms. Wagner participated in a timeshare scheme with Keith Kosco, Julie Duffield, Brendan Hawkins and others. Keith Kosco owned and operated a number of entities involved in travel, tourism and timeshare businesses including Resort Realty, Inc., Resort Solutions, Inc., and Exotic Equity Transfers, LLC (EET). Brendan Hawkins owned and operated another timeshare transfer business known as GoodBye Timeshares (GoodBye). Both businesses offered timeshare transfers in exchange for upfront fees. Desperate timeshare owners who were otherwise unable to escape the financial obligation of the timeshare ownership would pay for a service to have the unwanted timeshare deeded out of their name. It was represented to the seller of the timeshare that clean title would pass to the new owner with no further obligations of timeshare ownership (including maintenance fees) once the transfer was complete.
Transfer paperwork was handled by Kosco's companies in coordination with a business calling Professional Closing Company which served as a third party closing company, and was operated by co-defendant Julie Duffield. In 2013, Wagner and her law firm took over these closing duties. Her firm had previously worked with Brendan Hawkins company in the same capacity since at least 2011. The prosecutor claimed that the businesses conducted fraudulent transfers of over 1,000 timeshare units into the names of stolen identities and straw buyers (individuals who were compensated to accept the timeshare interest but had no true intention to fulfill the future financial obligations of the ownership). After the timeshare transfers were completed, none of the future maintenance fees or taxes due on the accounts was paid, which resulted in more than $1,300,000 in losses to the timeshare operators. Kosco, Duffield, Hawkins, and their employees, engaged in various fraudulent acts in support of the scheme, including false statements and promises to resorts, propping up stolen identities with email accounts, bank accounts and tax returns, falsely notarizing signatures and preparing fraudulent deed paperwork. The transfers also had a devastating impact on the credit of the stolen identities/straw buyers. Wagner is believed to have participated in the scheme from 2011 – 2013 working with both Kosco and Hawkins and their respective companies.
Ms. Wagner could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She may also have to pay restitution and will have to forfeit any assets tied to the scheme, according to documents filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Julie Duffield pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 26 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution, jointly with Kosco, in excess of $740,000.
Kosco pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 74 months in prison.
Brendan Hawkins pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution.
A new Mexican timeshare telemarketing scam is being reported by the InsidetheGate website. They posted the following:
"...Financial Intelligence Group, Inc., purportedly working in Buena Park, CA and possibly working in conjunction with Waddell Realty in Georgia — although in both instances it seems likely that the identities of real companies may have been hijacked to give the scammers an appearance of legitimacy.
A near victim of Financial Intelligence happens to have a friend who is an attorney, and that friend looked into the deal for her. The attorney said this to me, “A friend contacted me yesterday about a suspicious telephone call she had received from a David Taylor purporting to represent the Financial Intelligence Group, Inc. in Buena Park, CA, who offered to buy her Mexican timeshare interest at The Grand Mayan for nearly twice the purchase price.
“I advised her that it is a scam. I investigated the website, and learned that this version was created in March 2016, from an IP address that hosts 912 other websites with frequent changes. Under the heading of Commercial Real Estate, I saved the image and found that it was labeled Waddell Realty, a firm out of Columbus, GA, using the images, text and entire pages lifted directly from its website.”
Those are pretty good indications of a scam, and there was a bit more as well to seal the deal. Final conclusion: Yeah, it’s a scam. Stay away from them and do not under any circumstances send them any money!..."
See the original article by clicking HERE.
A reader has submitted a new alert warning about a possible timeshare scam using the business name Real Estate Carolinas LLC. The scam follows the same general tactics used time and again by telemarketing con artists to try and swindle consumers who own a timeshare membership based out of Mexico. The timeshare owner receives an unsolicited telemarketing call promising a "purchase offer" for a very inflated price. Then, the con artists send what appears to be a legitimate contract, promising no "upfront fees". However, once the timeshare owner agrees- they are then told that fake "closing costs" and "taxes" must be paid to complete the transaction. The cons keep promising that a large sum of money is held in escrow and waiting, but of course no actual transfer or sale ever occurs. The single goal of the scam is to bleed as much money in fake fees from the timeshare owner as possible.
These companies continuously change identity, to avoid discovery- but the fraudulent tactics always seem to follow the same few steps. If you own a timeshare membership based out of Mexico and are considering selling your timeshare, always be sure to call your resort management company and ask for a copy of the actual transfer procedure and cost. You can find the phone number for your resort on the last maintenance fee bill you received. For Mexican timeshares, the entire transfer process is handled internally by the management company and simply requires a transfer fee be paid to the resort. No taxes or title fees are needed.
Past Scam Alerts: