News and Press Releases

THREE CHARGED IN PALM BEACH COUNTY TIME SHARE BOILER ROOM CONSPIRACY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that Michael Franzenburg, 47, of West Palm Beach, Joseph Grizzanti, 30, of Greenacres, and Kenneth Foote, 40, of Lake Worth, were charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.

According to the Criminal Information filed with the court, the defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. From July 2009 to February 2010, telemarketers contacted more than 2,000 victims, and collected more than $3.3 million for timeshare marketing and sales services, which were never provided. The telemarketers, operating under the name International Resort Solutions LLC (IRS), solicited clients through at least four separate boiler rooms, each of which was located in Palm Beach County.

Franzenburg allegedly created IRS and arranged to have various boiler room owners establish boiler rooms in Palm Beach County, through which they could solicit customers who were willing to pay advanced fees for purported timeshare marketing and sales services. The boiler room owners, including Grizzanti, used managers to operate the boiler rooms. The managers, including Foote, were, in turn, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the boiler rooms, including oversight of all sales and supervision of the telemarketers.

According to the Information, the boiler room managers directed the telemarketers to call timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada to induce them to pay up-front fees for purported timeshare marketing and sales services by making false and misleading representations about IRS’s services. Among the false representations, the telemarketers claimed that IRS had buyers for their timeshares, that IRS had closings scheduled for their timeshares, and that IRS would actively market their timeshares to potential buyers.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to twenty years, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rabinowitz.

An Information is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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