FLORIDA MAN GETS TEN YEARS FOR TIMESHARE RESALE SCAM
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on May 6, 2011, Darnell Disroe, 38, of Boynton Beach, Florida, formerly of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, was sentenced to 121 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release. His sentence arose out of his guilty plea to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud arising out of a timeshare resale scam which operated in Florida. Disroe was the last of the three defendants to be sentenced to imprisonment in connection with the scheme. Disroe was also ordered to pay $1,110,072.97 in restitution to over 600 victims.
“Neither my office, nor the citizens of Southern Illinois, will tolerate fraud perpetrated in this district, no matter where that fraud originates. As this case proves, my office can reach far beyond our geographic borders to disrupt this kind of theft. Scammers and fraudsters would be well advised to take their schemes elsewhere.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.
The sentencing arose out of a multi-count indictment against Disroe and two other Florida men, Michael Lentine, 32, of Boynton Beach, Florida; and Michael Starace, 42, of Lantana, Florida.. The indictment was returned on July 21, 2010 by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis. Disroe, Lentine, and Starace were each charged with Conspiracy and Mail Fraud. Disroe and Lentine were each charged with four counts of mail fraud, while Starace was charged with a single count of mail fraud.
The indictment alleged that the three operated under the name Real Timeshare Marketing and conducted a telemarketing timeshare resale scheme targeting timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. The indictment alleged that Real Timeshare Marketing falsely represented that they had found buyers for the consumers’ timeshare interests and solicited fees of up to several thousand dollars from each consumer in purported pre-paid closing costs and related expenses. The indictment alleged that the purported sales did not occur, closings were not scheduled as was often represented, and, in fact, Real Timeshare Marketing did not successfully sell any consumer’s timeshare interest. It was further alleged that Real Timeshare Marketing devoted essentially no resources to marketing their clients’ timeshare interest and simply pocketed the purported closing costs. In just a five month period between roughly December 1, 2009 when telemarketing sales commenced, and April 28, 2010, when the scheme was interrupted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, it was alleged that Real Timeshare Marketing victimized approximately 615 consumers in forty-six states and six provinces in Canada of over $1.3 million dollars.
Sentencing for the other two co-defendants was as follows:
Michael Starace: January 28, 2011 – 18 months in prison and $28,723 in restitution.
Michael Lentine: January 7, 2011 – 51 months in prison and $249,432.75 in restitution.
Both men were also sentenced to supervised release terms of 5 years.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Boynton Beach, Florida Police Department. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce E. Reppert.