Florida Man 13th Sentenced for Florida Timeshare Resale Telemarketing Scam
John Thomas Egan, age 36, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was sentenced in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today. Egan plead guilty to this charge in January 2012.
Egan is the thirteenth individual to be sent to prison in connection with this Florida-based telemarketing scam operating under the name Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions which targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States. Egan conspired with Jennifer Kirk, the owner of Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions to bilk over 22,000 victims out of $30 million dollars. The scam victimized 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.
From the period of 2007 through 2009, telemarketers for 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 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 falsely told that their closings were scheduled within the next sixty to ninety days. Despite collecting fees from 22,000 victims, these companies did not sell a single timeshare unit.
Egan received a prison sentence of 7 and one half years and will serve 5 years on supervised release afer his release.
The investigation was conducted by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service which was assisted by the Boynton Beach (Florida) Police Department and the Florida Attorney General’s office. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce E. Reppert and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine L. Lewis.
It’s tempting to believe that fraud only happens to someone else—someone less educated, less sophisticated, less financially astute. But, victims belong to all social and economic classes and age groups. Please remember, it is very important not to give out your bank account, credit card or personal information (date of birth, mother’s maiden name, social security number, etc.) over the telephone, unless it is to a known trusted source.