Florida Woman Sentenced For Telemarketing Fraud
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on January 15, 2015, Tina L. White, 46, of Haverhill, FL was sentenced in the United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois on two counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. White was sentenced to 30 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.White was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.
The investigation determined that White participated in the scheme between October 5, 2007, and approximately January 2010. She worked as a telemarketer in the Belvedere office of Creative Vacation Solutions (CVS) in May 2009, and later during 2009 she became a manager at American Marketing Group (AMG).
Telemarketers and managers at CVS and AMG engaged in a scam intended to deceive consumers into believing that these timeshare resale companies had obtained firm and binding offers from purchasers to buy that consumer's timeshare interest. Consumers were told by telemarketers that the purported sales of their timeshares would occur only after the consumers paid certain up-front fees that the companies represented would be returned at closing, which never occurred. Despite collecting approximately $35 million in pre-paid up-front fees from consumers for "timeshare resale services," CVS and AMG were not instrumental in selling a single timeshare. The fees were not being used for closing costs or other expenses, but were instead being purloined to enrich the telemarketers and their bosses.
This prosecution is one of nearly 50 timeshare resale fraud prosecutions brought in the Southern District of Illinois over the past four years. The case is part of an ongoing investigation by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Agriculture. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hallock and Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Stump.