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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Florida Woman Found Guilty In Telemarketing Scam

Jury Deliberates Less Than One Hour Before Returning Verdict

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that a jury sitting in Federal District Court in East St. Louis found Kathryn G. Garten, 51, of Orlando, Florida, guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a nation-wide telemarketing scheme which defrauded persons throughout the United States and Canada, including victims in seven counties in the Southern District of Illinois.

“I believe the swiftness of this verdict was, in part, due to the outrageous and flagrant nature of the scheme Ms. Garten participated in to bilk consumers out of their hard-earned cash.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “I will continue to prosecute these cases of scammers preying on consumers, and continue to warn consumers that unsolicited offers for items or services which seem too good to be true should be ignored.”

This prosecution, one of many in the Southern District of Illinois, 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 Service. Essentially, the case involved telemarketers falsely representing to consumers that buyers for the consumers’ time-share properties had been located. The time-share owners were enticed to pay fees to complete the sales, when, in fact, no sale had ever occurred. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Stump and Special Assistant United States Attorney Theresa Dawson.

Sentencing for Garten was set for November 19, 2013. The Court stated that the trial proved that Garten was a “facile dissembler” and found that she was a danger to the community, thus Garten’s bond was revoked and she was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal. At sentencing, Garten faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison, as well as a maximum $250,000.00 fine.

Updated February 19, 2015