Six Mexican Nationals Indicted in Timeshare Telemarketing Scam
NEW ORLEANS – MARTIN ALONSO ACEVES CUSTODIO, a/k/a Robin Birmingham, a/k/a ALA, age 29, LIZA FLANERY FIERRO, a/k/a LIE, age 33, CLAUDIA ELENA ANTILLON ZAHUITA, a/k/a Julie Batista, a/k/a KLA, age 36, SERGIO LEON KURI, a/k/a “LNK, age 38, JESUS ADRIAN LEDESMA BERNAL, a/k/a JSS, age 31, and JULIO CESAR RIVERA ROJAS, a/k/a JCP, age 32, all residents and citizens of Mexico, were indicted October 3, 2019 by a federal grand jury for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The indictment alleges that from at least January 1, 2016, to the present, the above defendants conspired together and with others to commit wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scheme that targeted and victimized persons in the United States, Canada and South America. As part of the elaborate scheme, the conspirators made unsolicited phone calls to owners of resort timeshare properties to induce them to and pay fees associated with the bogus sale of their property. The defendants misrepresented the existence of a buyer for their timeshare and solicited money from the victims to facilitate the sale. They solicited the timeshare owners to enter into agreements to sell their timeshares and pay for alleged “closing costs” with electronic wire transfers from banking institutions within the United States to Mexican banks. There were no interested buyers, the closings did not occur, and the timeshares were not resold. Instead, the conspirators simply pocketed the advanced fees. Of the U.S. victims, 40 were age 60 and older and the total estimated loss is at least $10,000,000.
The defendants, who are all based in Mexico, operated under the business names Planet Travel and Newport International Investments, and at other times used the following business names: Advance Travel INC, All American Real Estate, American International Investment Group, Bear Claw Travel, Best Investment Services, Champion Properties, Closing Source LLC, Equity Closing Services Group, Global Offshore Services, NSC Holding, Peach Title, Sandia Title, Travel and Acquisitions, Travel Innovations, Travel Plus Acquisitions, Travel Right, and World Travelers, Inc.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of twenty years of incarceration, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release.
This case is the product of an extensive and ongoing investigation by special agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. Rivera is prosecuting the case.
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