News and Press Releases

Florida Telemarketer Pleads Guilty For His Role In Timeshare Scam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2013

On July 1, 2013, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Robert Thomas, 36, of Lake Worth, Florida, pled guilty to a one-count information. Sentencing has been set for October 28, 2013. The charge arose out of a telemarketing scam which operated in Palm Beach County, Florida, that bilked over 22,000 victims of $30 million dollars. Consumers were victimized 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 seven (27) of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.

Mr. Thomas was a telemarketer who worked for Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions and conducted a telemarketing timeshare resale scheme targeting timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions 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. In fact, the purported sales did not occur, closings were not scheduled as was often represented, and Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions did not successfully sell any consumer’s timeshare interest. The companies devoted essentially no resources to marketing their clients’ timeshare interests and simply pocketed the fees.

Multiple others have been charged in connection with this scam. On June 30, 2011, Jennifer Kirk pled guilty to a criminal information. She was sentenced on January 9, 2012 to over 16 years in prison and five years’ supervised release. On August 17, 2011, a federal grand jury in East St. Louis charged Steve Folan, Ryan Brazel, and Brian Morris in a multi-count indictment for their involvement in the alleged scheme. Folan, Brazel, and Morris pled guilty. Brazel was sentenced on June 29, 2012 to 121 months in prison and three years’ supervised release. Folan was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years’ supervised release. Morris was sentenced to 168 months and five years’ supervised release. Joel Intravaia pled guilty to conspiracy in an information filed on August 19, 2011. He was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three 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 in prison and two 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. On May 11, 2012 in the Southern District of Florida, Foote was sentenced to 60 months in prison and Grizzanti to 72 months, respectively. 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 was sentenced to 101 months in prison. John Thomas Egan pled guilty to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information on January 6, 2012. Egan was sentenced to 90 months in prison. On January 20, 2012 David Johnson and Erin Todd were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis. Johnson pled guilty and received 36 months in prison. Todd’s case was tried before a jury in September 2012. Todd was found guilty and sentenced to 42 months in prison. In March 2012, John Robert Eddy, Cloyd James Holmes, Jr., Gino Christopher Marquez, and Donald Myers were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Eddy pled guilty and received 60 months in prison; Holmes pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing; Marquez pled guilty and received 70 months in prison; and Myers pled guilty and received 30 months in prison. In April 2012, Daniel L. Gregg, Joshua G. Schneidau, and Lacey Marie Stone were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Gregg pled guilty and received 27 months in prison; Schneidau pled guilty and received 60 months in prison; and Stone pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing. In May 2012, Anthony Colon, Troy Dye, Chris Gilkey, Marc Martinangelo, and Robert Santiago were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Colon pled guilty and received 70 months in prison; Dye pled guilty and received 41 months in prison; Gilkey pled guilty and received 27 months in prison; Martinangelo pled guilty and received 1 year plus 1 day in prison; and Santiago pled guilty and received 20 months in prison. In July 2012, Daniel James Ferrara and Robert Schmucker were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Both Ferrara and Schmucker pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. On May 31, 2013, Hank Quimby pled guilty to a criminal information. He is awaiting sentencing. On June 13, 2013, Harrison Pomerantz pled guilty to a criminal information. He, too, is waiting to be sentenced.

The criminal charges follow 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 is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce E. Reppert, Katherine L. Lewis, and Nathan D. Stump, and U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.

 

 

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