Former Florida TV Weatherman Sentenced for Telemarketing Fraud
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Robert J. Lopicola, 45, of Brooksville, FL, was sentenced in the United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois on his conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Lopicola was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The court ordered that Lopicola will serve this federal sentence consecutively to, or after, he completes the sentence he is currently serving in the state of Florida for unrelated offenses. Lopicola was also fined $300 and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.
Lopicola was a telemarketer at C&G Marketing Associates, LLC, also known as Premier Timeshare Solutions (PTS). PTS telemarketers earned commissions that were based upon the volume of sales made. PTS operated out of offices located in West Palm Beach Florida. The company targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States and Canada who wished to sell their timeshares. By falsely representing that PTS had located buyers who were interested in purchasing the victims’ timeshares, the closers convinced the victims to pay upfront fees of approximately $2,000 to PTS. During the lifespan of the scam, PTS defrauded over 7,000 people out of approximately $14.5 million. Victims were located throughout the United States and Canada.
Prior to working at PTS, Lopicola was a weatherman for WPTV in West Palm Beach.
This prosecution is one of more than 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, assisted by the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Agriculture. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Verseman and Michael Hallock.