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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rochester Man Sentenced For Defrauding Would-Be Vacation Home Renters Out Of Thousands Of Dollars

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Henry T. Dean, III, 58, of Beaver Dams, NY, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The judge also ordered the defendant to pay restitution totaling $120,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola, who handled the case, stated that between September 2014 and October 2016, the defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud renters of vacation properties located in the Finger Lakes Region in New York State. Dean executed the scheme by advertising vacation homes on internet websites such as FingerLakesGuesthouses.com, Homeaway.com, and VacationRentalsByOwner.com.

The defendant advertised at least two homes in the Finger Lakes Region on the websites as large vacation homes with various amenities that were available for rentals upon receipt of a fully refundable monetary deposit by any interested customers. Dean accepted payment from customers via wire money transfers or online credit card payments. In reality, the property advertised as the Finger Lakes Guesthouse (FLGH) property was under significant construction, and was not available for rent. A second property, advertised as the Watkins Glen Guesthouse (WGGH), was actually owned by another individual who never gave the defendant permission to rent the property or advertise it for rent.

Dean promised to maintain deposits received from customers in an escrow account, which did not exist. Because of the status of the properties, the defendant later cancelled the reservations for many of the customers and refused to refund payment. Other customers became aware, in advance of their scheduled vacations, that the properties advertised by Dean were not accurately described, and they attempted to cancel their reservations. The defendant however refused to refund their money as well. 

The financial losses to the more than 20 victims totaled approximately $137,272.46.

The arrest was the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert. 

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated December 4, 2018