A Florida based telemarketing scam operating under the name Universal Marketing Solutions (UMS) and Creative Vacation Solutions (CVS) targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States. In various court filings related to the UMS/CVS scam, the government has alleged that the overall scam bilked over 22,000 victims of $30 million dollars. Previous court filings have also alleged that the scam victimized consumers in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all ten Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territory of Canada. There were at least 54 victims in twenty eight (28) of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
Telemarketers for CVS 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 the next sixty to ninety days. Despite collecting fees from 22,000 victims, these companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit. Defendants and their co-conspirators simply pocketed the closing costs.
These, and other cases, are being investigated by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Boynton Beach (Florida) Police Department and the Florida Attorney General’s office.
Since there are a very large number of victims in this prosecution, these cases may be designated as “Multiple Crime Victim” cases by Court Order under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2). Accordingly, the principal means of communicating and consulting with the investigators and government lawyers regarding these cases will be through a designated email for victims. If you are a victim, and wish to contact us, please send an email to USAILS.VW_ILS@usdoj.gov. and provide your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Given the large number of victims in these matters, and our need to efficiently manage our multiple victim prosecutions, we ask that you communicate with us by email. If necessary, we can have someone respond to you by telephone.
Beware of companies that promise that you can get your money back from a timeshare resale scam by paying them an upfront fee. This is a pervasive scam.
To any victim who plans on attending any Court proceeding:
Victims have the right to attend public Court proceedings, subject to some limitations as determined by the Court. For many reasons Court proceedings may be cancelled or rescheduled on short notice. If you are planning to attend a scheduled hearing, please check this web site for any updates before coming to Court.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771(a) provides:
A crime victim has the following rights:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public Court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public Court proceeding, unless the Court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district Court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
Since there are a very large number of victims in this prosecution, this case has been designated a “Multiple Crime Victim” case by Court Order under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2). Accordingly, the principal means of communicating and consulting with the investigators and government lawyers in this case will be through the completion of the “Contact Us” form below.
If you are a victim, and wish to contact us, please send an email to us at USAILS.VW_ILS@usdoj.gov. Please provide your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Given the large number of victims in this matter, and our need to efficiently manage our multiple victim prosecutions, we ask that you communicate with us by email. If necessary, we can have someone respond to you by telephone.
United States Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois
9 Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, Il 62208