Federal Jury Convicts Florida Man in Resort Timeshare Telemarketing Fraud Conspiracy that Victimized Persons Over Age 55
Dozens of Victims in Texas and Thousands in the U.S. and Canada
DALLAS — Following a nine-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater, a federal jury has found one of the ten conspirators in an estimated $10 million resort timeshare telemarketing fraud conspiracy that victimized at least 5000 individuals, many of whom were over age 55, guilty on all 26 counts of an indictment returned in the Northern District of Texas in October 2012. John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, made the announcement today.
Fabian C. Fleifel, 45, of Winter Springs, Florida, was convicted late yesterday on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud; nineteen counts of mail fraud telemarketing; and six counts of wire fraud telemarketing. The jury also found that the conspiracy count affected a financial institution and that the wire fraud and mail fraud counts were in connection with the conduct of telemarketing that victimized ten or more persons over the age of 55. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine on the conspiracy conviction and 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the other 25 convictions. Additionally, the telemarketing enhancements permit the Judge to impose up to an additional 10 years imprisonment. Judge Fitzwater temporarily remanded him into custody following yesterday’s verdict.
The following eleven coconspirators have pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the scheme and are awaiting sentencing, Edmond Charles Burke, 34, of Sanford, Florida; Kari Lynn Cash, 46, of Winter Park, Florida; Kevin Jacob Frater, 35, of Longwood, Florida; Bradley James Gomez, 36, of Longwood, Florida; Rani F. Khoury, 40, of Lake Mary, Florida; Courtney Darrell Lister, 39, of Midland, Texas; Joseph Bud Ramos, 27, of Tennessee; Armanda Nadine Rizkallah, 32, of Oviedo, Florida; Eric Rosado, of Orlando, Florida, Kevin Sanchez of Orlando, Florida, and Cesar Trinidad of Apopka, Florida.
The government presented evidence during trial that Fleifel conspired with others to make unsolicited interstate telephone calls to owners of resort timeshare properties to induce them into paying fees associated with the bogus sale of their property. Fleifel and others opened bank accounts and entered into merchant account agreements to process and collect funds raised in the scheme, and they set up phony mailing addresses to collect funds mailed in by timeshare owners.
Fleifel hired and trained telemarketers to work in boiler rooms he set up. These telemarketers were instructed to call timeshare owners using scripted sales pitches that falsely represented, for example, that a bona fide buyer was interested in buying their property, that the buyer had paid money into an escrow account, and that the buyer was ready to close on the property. The telemarketers falsely advised timeshare owners that they would receive all the funds from the sale within days, they must pay a one-time fee to cover the title search and other closing costs, and they would be refunded all fees paid if the sale did not close within 90 days.
After the conspirators obtained money from the timeshare owners, they made additional false and fraudulent statements to lull them and to keep them from investigating the transactions, complaining to law enforcement, or requesting charge backs to their credit cards
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Orlando Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys C.S. Heath and Joseph M. Revesz are prosecuting.
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