Former Employees Of Timeshare Consulting Firm Sentenced To Prison For Fraud Conspiracy
CAMDEN, N.J. – Two former employees of The Vacation Ownership Group LLC were sentenced today to prison terms for conspiring to defraud owners of timeshare properties, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Alfred Giordano, a/k/a “Alex Jordan,” 36, of Belmar, New Jersey, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Francis Santore, a/k/a “Frank Martin,” 56, of Northfield, New Jersey, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman to informations charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Judge Hillman imposed the sentences today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The Vacation Ownership Group, a/k/a VO Group LLC (VO Group), purported to offer consulting services to owners of timeshares, including timeshare cancellation services.
In January 2010, Giordano started working at the VO Group and was trained by Adam Lacerda to call customers using prepared scripts. Giordano would call customers and give them the false impression that he was working for a bank or lending institution and that he had the customer’s “complaint file” in front of him. After hearing Giordano’s false representations, some customers sent checks to the VO Group. Giordano admitted to causing over $120,000 in losses. Giordano also admitted to devising a separate scheme to defraud the New Jersey Department of Labor by collecting unemployment compensation benefits while working at the VO Group. Giordano admitted to applying for and collecting $13,676 in unemployment compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.
Santore started working at the VO Group in October 2010, where he was alleged trained by Lacerda to lie to customers using prepared scripts. Santore admitted that he would give customers the false impression that he was working for a bank or lending institution. He also admitted that he allowed customers to continue operating under the false impression given by his co-workers that the VO Group had the customer’s “complaint file” from a timeshare resort developer in front of them. Santore admitted that he regularly lied to customers in order to perpetrate the scam. Some of those customers then sent checks to the VO Group. Santore admitted that he falsely told a customer that if the customer paid $8,562 to the VO Group, the group would eliminate the customer’s approximately $18,000 mortgage debt with a timeshare developer. Santore admitted causing more than $70,000 in losses. Santore also devised a separate scheme to defraud the California unemployment system by collecting $16,200 in unemployment compensation benefits while working at the VO Group.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Hillman sentenced both defendants to three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a hearing to be scheduled.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Campi in Newark; and special agents from the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, New York Region, for their roles in the investigation leading to these guilty pleas. He also thanked the N.J. Department of Labor, Benefit Payment Control Unit, for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. David Walk, Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Giordano: Martin I. Isenberg Esq., Gibbsboro, New Jersey
Santore: Robert A. Mintz Esq., Newark