Thirteen people were charged in a telemarketing scheme to defraud time-share unit owners, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced on Thursday.
Since about October 2009, the defendants, who were employed by Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale called owners of time-share units and told them they had buyers for their properties, prosecutors said. They would tell the owners to send $1,996 to the company for fees associated with the sale of the unit, prosecutors said in email statement.
Once the time-share owners agreed to pay the fees, they were contacted by another employee, who would get them to admit on tape that they knew the fee they were paying was for the advertising of their units, and that the company could charge their credit card, prosecutors said.
The defendants were told by co-conspirators not to give the time-share unit owners closing dates for the sale of their time-shares to make it difficult for the unit owners to be refunded, prosecutors said.
To keep the victims from contacting their credit card companies, when unit owners called the company questioning the sale of their units, co-conspirators falsely informed them that the original buyer had a card was not approved, and another buyer was interested, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum 5-year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan and the defendants are scheduled to make their first appearances in court on Oct. 11.