A 63-year-old Las Vegas man has been charged in federal court with leading a business fraud ring with several relatives and other people. The suspect is accused of defrauding owners of timeshare properties into paying fees to have the business sell those timeshare interests when in fact no sales took place. The suspect could face decades in prison if convicted.
According to the U.S. attorney who announced the indictment, the man and the other suspects, most of whom live in Las Vegas, contacted owners of interests in timeshares and identified themselves as representatives of variously-named companies. The suspects would tell the owners that they had buyers interested in the timeshares and that they could arrange a sale in exchange for a fee. The fees, which ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars, would secure the owner’s place at the sale and pay for legal expenses, but would also be refunded at closing, the federal prosecutor said.
However, the prosecutor says, the suspects did not have buyers lined up and the fees did not go toward closing costs. Instead, the suspects are accused of keeping the money and not arranging sales as promised. Around 1,000 people are said to have been the victims of this scheme. Many of them are over 55 years old. Under federal law, that could increase potential prison sentences for the suspects by up to 10 years on top of the maximum of 20 years for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
Clearly, these business fraud charges are very serious. It remains to be seen if any civil litigation will result from the case.
Source: LoanSafe, “Las Vegas Telemarketers Arrested for Targeting the Elderly in Timeshare Resale Fraud,” Evan Bedard, Nov. 19, 2012