Florida Woman Sentenced For Telemarketing Scheme
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Amber Jones, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was sentenced in United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois, on Friday, November 14, 2014, on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Jones was sentenced to one day in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Jones was also ordered to pay $6,934 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.
The investigation determined that Jones was a telemarketer who worked for National Solutions and related companies located in Orlando, Florida. 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. The company solicited from each victim advanced fees of up to several thousand dollars in purported closing costs that were to be refunded to the owner at closing. Many timeshare owners were told that their closings would occur within a matter of days. Despite collecting fees from these victims, the National Solutions companies never sold a single timeshare unit and indeed made little effort even to market the properties for sale. Instead, Jones and her co-conspirators simply pocketed the advanced fees. Jones’ participation in the scheme began in August 2010 and continued through April, 2011. From 2007 to 2011, over 2,500 timeshare owners across the country were scammed by the National Solutions businesses to the tune of more than $6 million.
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 Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Quinley and Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hallock.