Florida Timeshare Resale Co-Owner Sentenced For Role In Multi-Million Dollar Scam
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Leandro Velazquez, 36, of Kissimmee, Florida, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on May 28, 2015, to 108 months in federal prison for his role is a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
In February 2014, a grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Velazquez with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. The indictment alleged that Velazquez, and others were engaged in an extensive telemarketing scam which operated in Orlando, Florida, that bilked thousands of victims of approximately $6 million dollars, victimizing consumers throughout the United States and Canada. There were victims in seven of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
According to documents filed with the Court in connection with his guilty plea and sentencing, Velazquez was a co-owner of National Solutions and related companies located in Orlando, Florida. The scheme operated under more than a dozen business names including Bluescape Timeshares International, Country Wide Timeshares, Countrywide Timesharesales, and Landmark Timeshares, among others. Evidence provided to the Court established that Velazquez' participation in the scheme began on or about December 5, 2007 and continued through July 13, 2011. Telemarketers for National 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 a number of days. Despite collecting fees from these victims, these companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit, according to testimony from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Federal Trade Commission investigated the National Solutions businesses and brought a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando. In that action the FTC seized the offices and records of National Solutions on July 13, 2011 pursuant to Court Order.
This prosecution follows an investigation by the Midwest Region Office of the Federal Trade Commission and the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce E. Reppert and Michael J. Quinley.
Consumers who believe that they have been the victim of a consumer fraud should call the Federal Trade Commission 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or file an online complaint at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.