United States of America vs. Peter L. Massimino, II
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Criminal No.: 13-30195-MJR
UPCOMING EVENTS: Jury trial has been re-set for March 17, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in East St. Louis, Illinois before Judge Michael Reagan. A hearing regarding plea has been set for March 13, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in East St. Louis, Illinois before Judge Michael Reagan.
On August 21, 2013 a grand jury returned a two count indictment charging Peter L. Massimino, II with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. The indictment alleged that Massimino, and others, were engaged in an extensive telemarketing scam which operated in Orlando, Florida that bilked thousands of victims of approximately $35 million dollars, victimizing consumers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. There were victims in at least 30 of the 38 counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
The criminal indictment alleges that Massimino participated in the scheme from between October 5, 2007 and approximately January 2010. He worked as a telemarketer in the Belvedere office of Creative Vacation Solutions (CVS) in May 2009, and later during 2009 she became a manager at American Marketing Group (AMG).
The indictment alleges that telemarketers and managers engaged in a scam intended to deceive consumers into believing that these timeshare resale companies had obtained firm and binding offers from purchasers to buy that consumer's timeshare interest. Consumers were told by CVS and AMG telemarketers that the purported sales of their timeshares would occur only after the consumers paid certain up-front fees that the companies represented would be returned at closing, which never occurred. Despite collecting approximately $35 million in pre-paid up-front fees from consumers for "timeshare resale services," UMS, CVS and AMG were not instrumental in selling a single timeshare. The fees were not being used for closing costs or other expenses, but were instead being purloined to enrich the telemarketers and their bosses.
If convicted of the charges, Massimino faces a term of imprisonment of up to 25 year’s imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than five years’ supervised release on each count.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury. This new indictment follows the successful prosecutions of several other timeshare resale schemes by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Illinois during the last three years.
This prosecution follows an investigation by the Midwest Region Office of the Federal Trade Commission and the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan D. Stump, and Special Assistant Theresa M. Dawson, as well as U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.
Consumers who believe that they have been the victim of a consumer fraud should call the Federal Trade Commission 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or file an online complaint. An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.