Beginning on or about January 26, 2009, and continuing until on or about December 17, 2009, C&G Marketing Associates, LLC, a Florida corporation that defrauded consumers using the fictitious name, Premier Timeshare Solutions (“PTS”). During that time, PTS employees conducted a fraudulent timeshare resale scheme through the use of telemarketing. PTS telemarketers worked in an office building in West Palm Beach, Florida. From there, they placed phone calls to timeshare owners throughout the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, falsely representing or implying that the company had found someone who wanted to buy their timeshare interest. In exchange for an advance fee that typically exceeded $1,000, the PTS telemarketers promised to handle all the details of the sale and send the victims the proceeds after closing. Once the victims had paid the advance fee, however, usually by giving the telemarketer their credit card information, the fraudulent company simply pocketed the money. There were no interested buyers, the closings did not occur, and the timeshares were not resold. It was, simply put, an act of thievery. To discourage and defeat subsequent chargeback attempts, PTS sent victims written contracts to sign and return – contracts that made no mention of the promised sale and obligated the company merely to provide marketing and advertising services. Because the original sales calls were not recorded, PTS could later claim that marketing and advertising was all that had ever been promised, and that any contrary impression the victim may have formed – for instance, that there was a concrete offer for the customer’s unit or some genuine interest by a qualified buyer – was simply a misunderstanding. Victims who called PTS to check on the status of their transactions were directed to customer service representatives. The role of the PTS customer service department was to perpetuate the fraud by delaying and discouraging chargebacks and complaints. To accomplish that goal, representatives would lie to victims, assuring them that despite some phony, unexpected delay, their timeshare unit was still going to be sold. Repeat callers were given a series of bogus excuses, none of which had any basis in fact. By instilling a false sense of hope, PTS aimed to delay the chargeback process beyond the time that most credit card issuers allow for disputes. During its period of operation, PTS victimized over 7,000 people spread across each of the 50 States, three United States territories, six Canadian Provinces, and the Bahamas. At least 47 victims of the scam were located within the Southern District of Illinois, representing half of the district’s 38 counties. All told, the scheme took in over $14.5 million.
These, and other cases, are being investigated by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service General’s office.
Since there are a very large number of victims in this prosecution, these cases may be designated as “Multiple Crime Victim” cases by Court Order under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2). Accordingly, the principal means of communicating and consulting with the investigators and government lawyers regarding these cases will be through a designated email for victims. If you are a victim, and wish to contact us, please send an email to USAILS.VW_ILS@usdoj.gov, and provide your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Given the large number of victims in these matters, and our need to efficiently manage our multiple victim prosecutions, we ask that you communicate with us by email. If necessary, we can have someone respond to you by telephone.
Beware of companies that promise that you can get your money back from a timeshare resale scam by paying them an upfront fee. This is a pervasive scam.
To any victim who plans on attending any Court proceeding:
Victims have the right to attend public Court proceedings, subject to some limitations as determined by the Court. For many reasons Court proceedings may be cancelled or rescheduled on short notice. If you are planning to attend a scheduled hearing, please check this web site for any updates before coming to Court.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771(a) provides:
A crime victim has the following rights:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public Court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public Court proceeding, unless the Court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district Court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
United States Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois
9 Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, Il 62208