Bakersfield Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in Fraudulent Transfer of Funds from a Victim’s Brokerage Account
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Juan Carlos Montalbo, 57, of San Antonio, Texas, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a timeshare fraud in Mexico, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Montalbo, while working in the timeshare industry in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, would tell timeshare owners that he could guarantee the sale of their existing timeshare vacation rentals, often to pay for other timeshare products Montalbo was attempting to sell them. He and his coconspirators would guarantee the sales and would represent that buyers were already arranged who were ready to pay for the timeshares. In truth, no buyers had actually been arranged. Instead, other coconspirators would convince the victims of the fraud to wire additional money from bank accounts in the United States and Canada to bank accounts in Mexico for alleged up-front payments including taxes, fees, and commissions to make the sale of the timeshare occur. The conspirators would assure victims that the non-existent buyers had already deposited money into trust accounts and that the sellers’ up-front fees would be fully reimbursed from those funds after the sale was complete.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew G. Morris is prosecuting the case.
Montalbo is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on April 21. Montalbo faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Co-defendant Marco Antonio Ramirez Zuno pleaded guilty in March 2017, and is scheduled for a status hearing regarding sentencing on March 17, 2020. Co-defendant Wayne Arthur York II pleaded guilty in November 2019, and is scheduled for a sentencing on March 3, 2020.