News and Press Releases

Florida Man Sentenced To More Than 10 Years In Prison For Role In $30 Million Telemarketing Scam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2012

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Ryan Brazel, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida was sentenced to 10 years 1 month in prison, 5 years supervised release, fined $1000, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee. Brazel plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. The indictment alleged that Brazel and others were involved in a telemarketing scam which operated in Florida that bilked over 22,000 victims of $30 million dollars victimizing consumers in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all ten Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territory of Canada. There were at least 54 victims in twenty eight (28) of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.

The criminal indictment alleged that Brazel was a manager of Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions in Palm Beach County, Florida. The indictment alleged that the scheme began in October 2007 and continued through at least January 2010. Telemarketers for Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions placed cold calls to timeshare owners and then falsely represented that their company had actual buyers for the owners’ timeshare property. Telemarketers they supervised then solicited advanced fees of up to several thousand dollars from each victim in purported closing costs that they promised would be refunded to the owner once the closing on the property occurred. Many timeshare owners were told that their closings were scheduled within the next sixty to ninety days. Despite collecting fees from 22,000 victims, these companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit, the Indictment alleged. Defendants and their co-conspirators, the indictment alleged, simply pocketed the closing costs.

Multiple others have been charged in connection with the Creative Vacation Solutions telemarketing scam. On June 30, 2011, Jennifer Kirk pled guilty to a criminal information. She was sentenced on January 9, 2012 to over 16 years imprisonment and 5 years supervised release. On August 17, 2011, a federal grand jury in East St. Louis charged Brian Morris and Steven Folan in a multi-count indictment for their involvement in the alleged scheme. Folan and Morris pled guilty. Folan was sentenced to 5 years in imprisonment and 3 years supervised release. Morris is awaiting sentencing. Joel Intravaia pled guilty to conspiracy in an information filed on August 19, 2011. He was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and 3 years supervised release on December 9, 2011. Ralph Johnson entered a guilty plea to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information on September 8, 2011. He was sentenced on December 16, 2011 to 46 months imprisonment and 2 years supervised release. On September 21, 2011, Kenneth Foote and Joseph Grizzanti were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis. On October 7, 2011, each filed a consent to transfer their case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in order to plead guilty to the charges there. Foote was sentenced to 73 months imprisonment and Grizzanti was
sentenced to 60 months imprisonment. Jeffrey Tracey Fields was charged with conspiracy in a criminal information on October 25, 2011. He filed a consent to transfer his case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in order to plead guilty to the charges there. Fields’ sentencing is set for July 17, 2012. John Thomas Egan pled guilty to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information on January 6, 2012. His sentencing is set for September 10, 2012. In March 2012, John Robert Eddy, Cloyd James Holmes, Jr., Gino Christopher Marquez, and Donald Meyers were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis. The four are awaiting trial. In April 2012, Lacey Marie Stone, Daniel L. Gregg, and Joshua G. Schneidau were indicted by a federal grand jury and are awaiting trial. In May 2012, Anthony Colon, Troy Dye, Chris Gilkey, Marc Martinangelo, and Robert Santiago were indicted by a federal grant jury and are awaiting trial.

The prosecution follows an investigation by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Boynton Beach Florida Police Department.

The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce E. Reppert, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine L. Lewis, and U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.

 

 

 

 

 

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