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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse


I'm watching you...Keeping an eye on the industry, The GateHouse is a timeshare blog powered by InsideTheGate.com, your best source for daily timeshare news and information.

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How about a nice red apple, hmmm?

Yes, that is how we advertise.

And we have this wonderful gift for you if you’ll just take a brief tour of our new hotel today, and promise when you get home you’ll tell your friends how nice it is and give them our brochures so they’ll maybe come stay with us some time in the future.

Honest, there’s absolutely no obligation to buy anything and there’s no pressure whatsoever.

(Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse
If you’re in the shared ownership biz you’re probably aware of Dave Ramsey, a financial author and radio talk show host who has been sharing his perspectives for around 20 years in various media. It seems his main ‘thing’ is chatting about financial matters but for whatever reasons he also rants strongly, often in error, about our industry. In a nutshell, the man seems to hate everything about timeshare.

It would be one thing if his rants were based on reality, but that is just too often not the case. He is sooo misinformed about sooo many aspects of the timeshare industry that it boggles the mind, and to make it even worse he passes that misinformation on to his readers/listeners as fact.

So what’s the Scoop? How wrong is he and about what? And if he is sooo wrong about almost everything he says about timeshare, then how wrong might his opinions regarding other financial matters be? Find out at “Scoop du Jour: Dave Ramsey, or Mr. I Hate Timeshare?”

This isn’t long enough for its own spot in Nevada news, but it’s enough to warrant some space here. I’m referring to the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, formerly the Hilton Las Vegas. According to reports, Westgate is booming along with the remodeling of some 1,200 rooms and the sale of timeshare units there is about double of their expectations.

In addition, they are preparing to open a new Edge Steakhouse, based on the award-winning original restaurant at the Westgate Resort and Spa in Park City AND they now have trams running directly from the property to the Las Vegas Convention Center — especially good news during the summer heat.

Word on the street is that when it came time to create new signage for the resort, Westgate CEO David Siegel asked Yesco Sign what the biggest sign in town was and they said it was Trump Las Vegas. Siegel had the company increase the size of the Westgate sign by one inch and Siegel can now brag, “I have trumped Trump”.

Ego. Ain’t it amazing?

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: VAC) will report financial results for the third quarter 2014 before the market opens on October 16, 2014. A conference call is scheduled to follow at 10:00 a.m. ET to discuss the company’s results.

Participants may access the call by dialing (877) 407-8289 or (201) 689-8341 for international callers. Please use conference ID 13591642 when dialing into the call. A live webcast of the call will also be available in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website at www.marriottvacationsworldwide.com.

An audio replay of the conference call will be available until October 23, 2014. To access the replay, call (877) 660-6853 or (201) 612-7415 for international callers. The conference ID for the recording is 13591642. The webcast will also be available on the company’s website for 90 days following the call.

Mark your calendar.


Where are YOU going this year?


It’s been a long, a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will…

The legendary Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come”. Yeah, baby!

The Weekly Juke Box aims to feature good music/good fun regardless of era or genre. Send in your own favorite and if I can find a good version on YouTube I’ll post it for you! What would you like to see or hear?

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

ORLANDO: What happens if you’re both a dedicated company employee of many years AND a first-time campaigner for a seat on your local county commission? Add to that the possibly irrelevant fact that your employer’s former parent company is supporting your opponent, and what do you get?

You get your a$$ fired under circumstances that look very suspicious and don’t show the company’s name in a good light regardless of their stated reasons.

Meet Viviana Janer, the Senior Manager of Internal Audit for Marriott Vacations Worldwide who has worked for Marriott for eleven years. She has over 20 years of working in corporate accounting and has an MBA, giving her experience in managing multi-million dollar budgets and taxation which she feels gives her particular value as a candidate for the Osceola County Council. Apparently Democratic voters agree with that, since she won the Aug. 26 Democratic primary for District 2 with 79% of the vote. Her opponent in the Nov. 4 general election is incumbent Republican Commissioner John Quiñones.

Coincidentally, Marriott International supports Quiñones, having donated $1,000 to his campaign.

The basics go like this. Viviana says she didn’t notify Marriott about her campaign because she was conducting it in her spare time and pretty much on her own dime, per Marriott’s own written policies stating that employees “are encouraged to participate in the political and governmental process, but must be certain that they are doing so using their own resources and their own time.”

Marriott eventually found out about it (it wasn’t exactly a secret) and informed her that her candidacy and possible service on the commission created a conflict of interest. She was therefore given a choice: Pull out of the campaign or resign from the company. She declined both alternatives and was promptly fired.

At this point it is really fairly irrelevant if Marriott has a legitimate point because what it looks like to the world outside is that Viviana was punished for her political affiliation. Someone has even started a #hashtag campaign on Twitter, seeking “justice” for her:

If you have a Twitter account, please post this:
@MarriottVacClub you don’t fire over politics #VivianaJanerJustice

The Orlando Sentinel picked up the story, too, quoting fire-brand U.S. Rep Alan Grayson as calling the firing “a disgrace” and “a stinking maneuver to rob her of her job and rob the voters of their votes” and adding to the original story with a follow-up.

Maybe this will turn out to be a tempest in a teapot. Maybe Marriott will just wait out the bad publicity and hope for the best. Maybe underdog Viviana Janer will get her job back and/or win that seat on the Council (and not hold her firing against the company). Maybe maybe maybe. Maybe pigs will fly, but in the meantime that Twitter hashtag is picking up steam and Janer is starting to gain some extra donations to her campaign as a result.

Meanwhile Janer, who has gained the support of The Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, is NOT quitting the campaign and has hired an attorney to explore her options. AND Quiñones has returned the $1,000 contribution from Marriott International.

Janer may have suffered from a lack of name recognition before, but not so much any longer. Unintended consequences?

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND: If you were hoping to find out this week what went on at the Sept. 24 -25 court hearings regarding the lawsuits against Coral Resorts, well you’re going to have to wait a little longer. An undetermined amount of a little longer, as it turns out.

Circuit Judge Ernest Kinard, who was scheduled to hear more than 50 motions filed by Coral and timeshare owners in more than a dozen cases against the company, was apparently taken ill and had to postpone the hearings to an undetermined future date.

There is something new to report, however. Remember the issue of a transcript from a January 2013 Real Estate Commission hearing during which a Coral Resorts lawyer was said to have acknowledged that the company had not paid fees to renew its state registration to sell timeshares since at least 2008? That transcript was sealed, kept secret, until an anonymous someone mailed it to The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, who published it.

What’s so important about that transcript? The document seems to show that Coral had failed to pay fees to renew its state registration to sell timeshares since at least 2008 and therefore might have been selling timeshares when it had no proper authority to do so. Some attorneys maintain this nullifies the contracts of everyone who purchased a timeshare during the time Coral had failed to renew its registration.

Coral Resorts, who had gone to extensive lengths to keep that (and other) information private, was incensed by the leaking of the transcript but the cat was out of the bag. (You can read that transcript for yourself at Scribd, and it’s a page turner for sure.)

Anyhow, Coral Resorts has accused attorneys Zach Naert and Joe DuBois, who represent the timeshare owners, of sending the transcript and have filed a motion asking that they be found in contempt of court. They claim Naert and DuBois mailed the transcript to “annoy, embarrass and oppress” Coral Resorts. Naert and DuBois vigorously deny the accusation.

At any rate, when the case is scheduled again I’ll let y’all know.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

CAMDEN: OK, let me catch you up on the little bit of news available on the VO Group/VO Financial timeshare scam case. Did you notice how I used the word “little” there? That’s about how much new news there is in the case, but for what it’s worth here it is.

Re Adam and Ashley Lacerda: Those two are still awaiting the hearings on motions for forfeiture of assets, currently scheduled for October 24, 2014. The only thing new as of this date is that Ashley doesn’t want to attend the hearing, leaving that in the hands of her attorney, and has therefore waived her right to be present. Her attorney has so notified the judge and requested that her appearance be waived.

Re Ian Resnick and Genevieve Manzoni: Their motion for a new trial is scheduled to be heard this coming Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, so hopefully I’ll have something to report to you by next Saturday (though that’s cutting things pretty close). Assuming it isn’t postponed again, of course.

In the meantime, I thought you might be interested in this information culled from a previous court document (Oct. 2013) in which the Government was explaining why Ian Resnick did not deserve a new trial:

During the course of the charged conspiracy, Resnick became Adam Lacerda’s right hand man. Resnick was at Adam Lacerda’s side when Lacerda reprimanded Vincent Giordano about the Genevieve Manzoni email (Government Exhibit 202) and told Giordano that the bank settlement pitch should not be put in writing to customers. 8/12/2013 Trial Tr. at 85. Resnick was promoted from sales rep to contract analyst to director of training to director of compliance to vice president of sales. 7/29/2013 Trial Tr. at 104. Resnick was one of the highest paid employees at VO, earning $64,149 through 9/1/2011 and $400,000 during his entire time at VO.

Even after he was arrested and ordered not to have contact with victims and witnesses, Resnick participated in witness tampering, which shows his consciousness of guilt. See8/16/2013 Opinion at 8-9 [Docket No. 299] (holding that evidence of Resnick’s witness tampering showed his commission of fraud and his consciousness of guilt, and citing numerous supporting authorities). The jury heard Karen Wolff testify about his post-arrest contacts with her and heard recordings of post-arrest calls. 8/8/2013 Trial Tr. at 243-51; 8/12/2013 Trial Tr. at 45-53; Government Exhibits 2004, 2008, 2008A, 2008B. During those calls, Resnick (a) told her numerous lies, including that he was exonerated of all charges; (b) misstated what had happened in 2010, in order to tamper with her recollection and testimony; and (c) pushed her very hard to accept a refund, in a transparent attempt to alter her attitude and defuse her as a witness against him. Id. Based on Resnick’s actions towards Karen Wolff, the jury was entitled to conclude that Resnick knew that he had committed fraud and was trying to tamper with the evidence against him.

If you want to get a bigger fix while you wait for newer news, here is a copy of the Government’s brief in opposition to post-trial motions of Manzoni and Resnick. If you have a bag of popcorn, now would be the time to pop it in the microwave.

RE Dennis Nadeau: Dennis, who was indicted in June 2014 for “misleading conduct towards another person, with intent to influence, delay, or prevent testimony” (aka witness tampering) associated with the case, has wasted no time diddling around. He just went straight to the plea agreement deal and apparently has already gotten something sewn up.

The Government and Nadeau’s attorney have jointly asked for an order granting a continuance of the proceedings in his case for a period of 60 days “to allow the parties to schedule a change-of-plea hearing, the parties having entered into a plea agreement in this matter and the United States having requested assignment of this matter to a United States District Judge…” So sometime prior to around Nov. 9 I should have something concrete to tell you about that. Note that Nadeau is mentioned in that document I linked to above.

As for various other defendants who pled guilty to various counts during the trial (Francis Santore, Ryan Bird, Joseph Saxon, et al), to the best of my knowledge they have not been sentenced yet. I’m not sure what the hold-up is.

Watch this space.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

DENVER: Inspirato, the world’s largest destination club, has snagged $20 million in additional growth financing from new investor W Capital Partners and existing investors Institutional Venture Partners and Millennium Technology Value Partners. The financing will accelerate the company’s rapid growth, portfolio expansion and investment in technology-based innovation. In other words, Inspirato is planning on getting BIGGER.

To date, Inspirato has raised approximately $70 million in equity financing.

Inspirato has grown rapidly since its launch in January 2011. In the last 14 months alone, their membership nearly doubled, growing from 4,000 members in July 2013 to just under 8,000 today. During the same period, Inspirato added over 100 Signature Residences to its vacation property portfolio, which is now worth $750 million with 240 luxury homes across the U.S., Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean.

Most recently, Inspirato launched its new Jaunt® 52 member benefit, providing members access to a large collection of curated vacations each week for as low as $195 a night. The club also opened its first two Experience Centers at Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver, Colorado and Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, California. Additional Experience Centers are planned for high end malls including Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California; Tysons Galleria in McLean, Virginia; and NorthPark Center in Dallas, Texas. In 2015, Inspirato will launch its first mobile app and continue investing in technology to enhance its unique approach to personalizing the member experience.

They are definitely not resting on their laurels!

Email the Gatekeeper (or leave a comment below).

"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

MAMMOTH LAKES: This is BIG! Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, owner of Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain,has entered into an agreement to acquire Big Bear Mountain Resorts in Big Bear Lake, California. Big Bear Mountain Resorts includes both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, the largest and most popular of Southern California’s ski and snowboard resorts that host nearly 800,000 winter visits annually.

This transaction will create one of the nation’s largest ski companies with over 2 million visitors per year.

I told ya it was BIG!

Rusty Gregory, Chairman and CEO of Mammoth Mountain, is pretty excited about it, saying, “This acquisition represents the beginning of a renaissance for both Mammoth and Big Bear and is the first step in the next era of skiing and riding in California. In the coming months we will be announcing exciting new development and expansion plans for each of our four resorts designed to attract visitors from down the street, across the country, and around the world.”

Closing is subject to certain conditions, including Big Bear Mountain Resort shareholder approval and transfer of the U.S. Forest Service Permit that permits operations on nearly 1,500 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

GUANACASTE: ***For those of you who feel you have been scammed and lost money you need to make the effort to contact your local FBI office and report your losses, or better yet file a Form IC3, available online at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx , which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). The more people who file that form the better; as individuals (unless your loss is huge) not much will be done, but as a group you can pool your losses and possibly reach the criteria to set an investigation into motion.

Take whatever evidence you may have, make your case and make sure you explain that others across the country are doing this, too, that the scheme affects many people from all over to the tune of millions of dollars.***

Another victim of the Coco Bay Estates/Luxury Leisure Alliance/Coco Adventures (et al) scam has come forward to recount his personal experience with the group perpetrating the fraud, as a warning to others. It isn’t a pretty picture; viewer discretion is advised.

I hate to admit to gullibility but I too was bitten. One of your other correspondents named a salesman named Jeff. He was the one who got us.

We were picked up on the streets of Coco Bay under the pretense of helping us to find an apartment to rent for a month. When we arrived at Coco Bay Estates, we were told that it could be arranged but, of course, we had to listen to their sales presentation. After several hours of very slick salesmanship, we wound up signing a contract and making down payments amounting to 28K using three different credit cards.

During the night, we awakened, realized we had made a serious blunder, re-read all of the paper work and determined to get out. First thing in the morning, we contacted all of the credit card companies in an attempt to block the transactions, only to find that they had already been posted, and entered them into dispute.

Then we returned to Coco Bay to exercise our 8 day right of rescission. We were informed that the account had already been “activated” (our alleged weeks had been rented) and therefor our “right of rescission” was forfeit. We then engaged the services of a local law firm which presented a written demand for rescission. When they still refused, our attorney filed an action in the courts of Guanacaste.

It is interesting and suspicious that during this same period of time someone attempted to change the address on my bank accounts (yes, one of the credit cards used in this transaction was with my bank) to an address in Florida. Coincidence? Perhaps but I cant help feeling that these two are related.

After months of supplying additional documentation, the credit card companies appeared to have resolved the dispute in our favor and we were beginning to relax when the charge on my Discover Card reappeared. When I contacted them, I was informed that even though I had provided them with copies of the letter of rescission and the sworn statement of my attorney that said the letter had been hand delivered to the offices of Coco Adventures, since we did not have a receipt for that demand from the company, they were honoring Coco Adventure’s contention that they had never received our written demand.

We were had. Kiss the money goodbye.

I’ve mentioned several times that several of the individuals involved in these Costa Rica timeshare scams were previously associated with the Puerto Bahia scam in the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico area. Different company/resort names and location, same scam, same people. Well check out this 2013 article in The Star Tribune’s Whistleblower blog:

Early last year, Rivas was vacationing with his wife in Puerto Vallarta. They agreed to attend a timeshare presentation at Puerto Bahia in exchange for 300 pesos (about $25) in spending money.

The real estate agents were persuasive, but were unable to reel in the couple until another salesman arrived to propose a companion deal, Rivas said. Platinum Resort would take care of renting out the five timeshare weeks the couple would buy for almost $16,000. For an upfront nonrefundable broker fee of $927, Platinum Resort promised to pay $2,600 in rent for each of five weeks each year, Rivas said.

Rivas said he bought the timeshare, signed a contract with Platinum Resort, paid his broker fee by credit card and waited for his first payment, promised by the end of November. Several revised deadlines later, Rivas has come to realize he may never see a penny.

Sound familiar? You bet it does!

And at the very end of that article you’ll find this:

Reached by e-mail, George Triggs, an employee of Puerto Bahia, the Mexican resort, said the development has no affiliation with Platinum Resort Services.

Of course he did. And he and his compadres in crime are saying the same thing about several of the companies they are or have been associated with in Costa Rica. Timely Travel comes to mind…

TripAdvisor.com has a thread that will demonstrate how well known George Triggs in the Mexico timeshare scam field.

Yep, this is a total den of thieves, liars and con men. False statements, missing paperwork, Charged my down payment of 20K. I have nothing and CITTI CARDS said tough luck (they got their conversion fee and are not going to give that up). DO NOT GET INVOLVED WITH THESE VIPERS. JAY IS POISON. AND GEORGE TRIGGS IS A VERY EXPERIENCED RIPOFF ARTIST. I’ve seen him at other resorts before selling timeshares. WHAT A CESSPOOL. BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE.

Stay clear of Pueblo Bahia Villas in La Cruz, Nayarit, Mexico

They’re all cheats and liars.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

LOS CABOS: The news coming out of Los Cabos following Hurricane Odile is pretty encouraging. We’ve all seen pictures and videos of the damage and that damage is pretty mind boggling to behold — but all is not lost. So here’s an update for you, courtesy of Mexico Tourism Board CEO Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu and the English-language newspaper Gringo Gazette.

Per SECTUR, all hotels in Baja California Sur should be fully operational in the second half of November. In the area overseen by Fonatur, the tourism development fund, 55 of the 59 hotels sustained varying degrees of damage, with 5,474 rooms having been affected. The remaining 4,312 are ready for guests. I question that “all” hotels part; have you seen what the Hyatt in San Jose del Cabo looked like after the hurricane?

The Army restored order, sending about 7,000 soldiers to the area within days of the Hurricane. They posted guards at every corner in downtown Cabo and at all banks; they had helicopters in the air. The 10:00 p.m. curfew was lifted around Sept. 22.

Per The Gringo Gazette, there is enough food, as the government flew in emergency supplies and have been handing it out in the barrios. The Americans and other expats generally have the resources to drive to La Paz for their food, which is well stocked.

About 3,000 workers from CFE, the national power utility company, have been sent to the area to work on restoring lines (some 3,000 high tension poles were downed or damaged). That’s in addition to the approximately 1,000 workers who were already there. About 80% of Los Cabos has electricity but power is on schedule to be 95% to 100% restored in time for next week’s edition of The GateHouse.

Telephone, Internet and potable water have been fully restored in Los Cabos; cell phone coverage is good in both San Lucas and San Jose, but still sketchy in the corridor connecting the two towns.

The cruise ship terminal and the marina area both came through the storm undamaged. Cruise lines are reviewing their itineraries as to when they will resume travel to Los Cabos.

According to a statement Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, the Los Cabos International Airport will operate solely for official, humanitarian aid and rescue flights until Oct. 8 and then resume passenger flights.

Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament and Los Cabos Offshore Tournament will be held as scheduled in the third week of October.

The Baja International Film Festival at Los Cabos will take place as planned, Nov. 12-16.

Walmart and Home Depot have reopened and some banks are also open for business as are several local businesses like Captain Tony’s and Baja Cantina.

Cleanup has continued apace on general things like clearing up the debris in the streets, getting the sand out of swimming pools, etc. and the towns are looking pretty decent, all things considered.

For information about the state of affairs at your resort or hotel, you’ll have to go to their websites or contact them personally to find out how things are progressing damage-wise and reservations-wise.

HOWEVER, I do have a KUDOS for Pueblo Bonito Resorts and their guests. Posted on Pueblo Bonito’s Facebook page on Sept. 22 was the following note:


We would like to give a big, warm, heartfelt “THANK YOU” to the guests who were with us during Hurricane Odile and its aftermath. We are so touched by the selflessness and compassion that was shown for the employees of Pueblo Bonito and the people of Cabo. Many of you left clothing behind as donations for our employees who had lost their homes. Your efforts were substantial–almost 300 small bags of clothing were collected. These donations were distributed to those who were most in need, and the employees were extremely thankful for such a thoughtful gesture. Many of you also decided to pitch in and assist with the removal of debris and sand while you waited to be evacuated. Our staff was very grateful for the help, and touched by the fact that so many wanted to help where they could. Lastly, we would like to thank you for your patience and good spirits as we waited for word on your evacuation. We are so happy you are all a part of our Pueblo Bonito Family and we want you to know that your kindnesses will not be forgotten! Thank you!

Good luck, everyone! And if your business/hotel/resort in the affected area is open for business, give me a shout at gatekeeper@insidethegate.com and I’ll list it here free for nothing!

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS




EVERYWHERE: A newish angle to the scams being perpetrated against owners of Mexican timeshares involves a supposed law firm calling itself Carrera & Lawson. They are contacting owners and claiming to be working with the Mexican Government to identify and indemnify those owners. In this version of the scam the criminals are claiming in a letter they send to potential victims that Mexico “has made numerous arrests connected to timeshare fraud cases…” That’s a lie.

They go on, “Several millions in cash and assets have been seized along with lists of thousands of people who were targeted by these fraudulent timeshare, resale and rental companies.” That’s a lie.

“Literally hundreds of millions of dollars have been fraudulently stolen from both US and Canadian citizens over the last 8-10 years. Many of these fraudulent companies have been based out of Mexico and through the use of Skype and magic jack provided false phone numbers and prefixes throughout the US.” That is true.

“Several millions in cash and assets have been seized along with lists of thousands of people who were targeted by these fraudulent timeshare, resale and rental companies.” That’s a lie.

“In the past compensation has been nearly impossible, but now with the growing media exposure, the authorities have finally taken action. That’s a lie.

“We were initially contacted by The Mexican Federal Government, to finalize the details of settlement for their cases. At this time we are aiding in the ongoing investigation in order to determine additional victims, to clear their name for any liability and issue compensation once wrong doing has been determined. As well as finalizing all the details of the settlement. The monies that have been confiscated will be dispersed according to a case file ID number/AVP, if your case is approved. Each case will be individually examined and evaluated on a case by case basis and fund dispersal will be done in order of assigned file ID/AVP number.” That is a lie; it’s not how the government works.

So far nearly everything those supposed attorneys have said has been untrue. And then they continued by performing a little bit of intimidation to get your attention (emphasis mine):

We understand that you are in fact a victim and not a willing participant to the money laundering schemes; however at this time you are under suspicion by the authorities and banking institutions of Mexico as part of the conspiracy to commit Fraud.

The offices of Carrera and Lawson Law Firm are contacting victims looking not only for compensation but for justice as well. Through their diligence, funds have been confiscated and many settlements have been dispersed.

All of that is a lie.

Add to all those untruths the fact that their website was registered on August 28, 2014; it’s so new it squeaks when it walks, yet they would have you believe the Mexican Government has specially chosen them for this important work.

The whole thing stinks on ice. It’s a scam. If they contact you in any way run screaming from the phone, hit the delete button on your PC, do whatever you can manage to NOT continue any contact with them. And above all else DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY.

Now here are some more names to add to the list of scammers working out of Mexico:

NSR Services, INC, purporting to be in Minnesota, but the BBB has discovered the address given for the company is — guess what? A lie.. Working in concert with NSR is La Vista Title in Alparetta, Ga, except that’s a lie, too.

They are running a rental scam, offering Mexican timeshare owners handsome sums for several weeks of their timeshares. Their victims just have to bank wire funds to cover added fees.

“I just have to send $3990.00 to cover added fees, of course the buyer has put this in escrow as well, so I would get my “money” back,” one woman told me.

They may also be running a resale scam; at any rate, if they contact you rest assured they’re scammers.

More companies to avoid:

  • Highland Park Equity, resale offers, supposedly out of Detroit, MI — except there’s no such company registered in Michigan
  • Realistic Property Advisors, LLC. 1301 Dove ST, Newport beach, CA 92660 Phone: 949-978-8023. Initial call from Brad Loden, subsequent calls and follow-up contact for contract, etc. Stephen Otus @ xt.4200. Working in concert with Escrow Company ML Holdings Group, 215 W Market St, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone 619-607-3835 / Toll Free 866-978-7752. Contact: Emma Johnson – Escrow Manager. Other signature on docs: Christopher Davidson – Director. Note that neither company exists in California’s database of registered companies.
  • West Park Resale, purportedly a brokerage in Phoenix,AZ, running a basic resale scam requiring its victims to pay a SAT tax on the resale. As reported endlessly in this blog, the Mexican government does not require a SAT tax on individual timeshare resales, so that is totally bogus. But more obvisously (because I know where to look) no company by the name of West Park Resale exists as a legal business entity in the databases of the state of Arizona. In other words, it’s a phony company. Also, they are not licensed by the Arizona Real Estate Commission under that name, which has no record of them. Human names associated with this bogus company include Jason McGuire and Edward L. Harris

On the plus side:

Googled Mexico reimbursement fund which led me to your website. THANKS!
Anyone we can report these scammers to? By the way they are SO NICE AND PROFESSIONAL SOUNDING!

I love to hear when we are able to help someone avoid being scammed. Yes!

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

The Travel Channel

REMEMBER: It can never be overstated, yet it is one of those many unacceptable truths in our ‘biz’: Beneath it all, every timeshare sales rep is in the TRAVEL business and the sooner each sales Pro gets that into their ‘being’ the better off they’ll be when it comes to their individual career perspective, long term goals and objectives– especially when dealing with travelers/vacationers (aka: Sales guests!)

Travel (vacationing), one of the world’s largest industries, continues to grow. It is so popular and powerful that even The Travel Channel’s website is one of the higher ranking (visited) and most favored websites on the Internet worldwide.

Keep in mind, a lot of ‘prospects’ don’t initially think too ‘kindly’ of timeshare sales reps but the vast majority of those very same people damn near consider ‘their’ travel agent as if that person was a ‘family’ member who gets ‘em all sorts of neat travel and vacationing deals!

During the presentation each prospect needs to know that ‘they’ have the opportunity to not only become involved in an exclusive worldwide vacation and travel group with millions of ‘members’ but that the sales guest is dealing with a travel expert whose primary function, like a travel agent, is to get them the best travel and vacationing package that fits their lifestyle. It is indeed the savvy TS Pro (T/A) who accomplishes this with each prospect who’ll laugh all the way to the bank.

Join us for a pithy morning meeting timeshare sales tip of the week, originally published in InsideTheGate.com, to help you to greater success in selling timeshare. Brief and to the point, these sales training tips are designed to get you thinking, to expand your knowledge, to help you to become all that you can be in the timeshare sales arena.

Whether you’re an industry veteran or a green pea, it never hurts to brush up on your skills!

Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouseQUOTABLE QUOTES: “The best of us must sometimes eat our words.” -J.K. Rowling

If you haven’t already seen it, here is the King of the Hill episode about a Mexican timeshare presentation. Full of stereotypes and misconceptions, but still funny. :)

“You’re going down there with a liver, two kidneys and no timeshare. I expect you to come back the same way!”

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

stressed out

It isn’t fair.

Just because I’m the one
who comes up with these
cost-saving cuts I don’t
know why I’m always the
one who is ordered to
break the news to the
marketing and sales reps.

(Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)