Four Defendants Sentenced in Timeshare Fraud
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Daniel C. Alexander, Chief, Boca Raton Police Department, announced yesterday that Senior United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp sentenced defendants Anthony J. Chiaramonte, 35, of New York City, Nicholas Charles Higgins, 27, of Boynton Beach, Florida, Wensley Robin McFarlane, 53, of Lake Worth, Florida, and James Michael Tomasso, 53, of Boca Raton, Florida, for conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.
Defendant Chiaramonte was sentenced to 51 months in prison; defendant Higgins was sentenced to one year and one day in prison; defendant McFarlane was sentenced to 90 months in prison; and defendant Tomasso was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
These defendants participated in a telemarketing boiler room through which telemarketers negotiated to purchase victim-owned timeshares on condition that the victim paid an advanced fee to cover such things as a title search. This fee ranged as high as tens of thousands of dollars. The victims were also told that this fee would be refunded to them at closing together with the money the conspirators were to pay them for the timeshares. None of these purchases ever occurred. In total, the conspiracy victimized over 1,000 people, many of whom were senior citizens, and cost the victims, in aggregate, more than $2.5 million.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Boca Raton Police Department. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry S. Baron.
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.