United States of America vs. Joseph Grizzanti
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Criminal No.: 11-CR-30165-DRH
RECENT EVENTS: On May 11, 2012, Joseph Grizzanti was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
On September 21, 2011, JOSEPH GRIZZANTI, age 40, of Greenacres, Florida, was named in a one count indictment charging him with CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MAIL FRAUD AND WIRE FRAUD.
Grizzanti is the eighth defendant charged in prosecutions arising out of a Florida based telemarketing scam operating under the name Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions targeting owners of timeshares throughout the United States. The indictment alleges that Grizzanti was a telemarketer who worked for one of the offices that operated under the Creative Vacation Solutions umbrella. Grizzanti allegedly bilked approximately 78 victims out of approximately $156,000. In previous court filings related to the Universal Marketing Solutions/Creative Vacation Solutions scam, the government has alleged that the overall scam bilked over 22,000 victims of $30 million dollars. Previous court filings have also alleged that 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, and twenty eight (28) of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed innocent of a charge and is entitled to a fair trial at which the Government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The criminal indictment alleges that 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 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 alleges. Defendants and their co-conspirators, the Indictment alleges, simply pocketed the closing costs.
The Defendant faces a penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to five years.
The Indictment follows an investigation 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 this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce E. Reppert.