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HAPPY HOUR STARTS NOW!

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Some Special Features from InsideTheGate.com you might want to check out this week:

  • CURRENT NEWS HEADLINES (stuff you might have missed last week)
  • SCOOP DU JOUR (published weekly, every Friday)
  • OFF TOPIC (Just for fun, from the goofy to the profound, published weekly, every Monday)
  • ON THE ROAD Timeshare Resort destinations and reviews, travel deals and more! (Published weekly, every Monday)

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Money

After a five-year hiatus a developer finally recognized the error of his ways and once again started doling out next-morning all-cash spiffs equal to 1.5% of each contract written.

Subsequently the energy, passion and enthusiasm of everyone on the line, including bummed-out Bob, shot through the roof as net sales significantly increased and the reps now, as in years earlier, live off their spiffs each week and bank their commissions every payday.

Kudos to this wise developer!


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Leave your own caption in the
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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse
“When I was young my teachers were the old,” said Robert Frost in his poem What Fifty Said.
“I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
I suffered like a metal being cast.
I went to school to age to learn the past.

“Now when I am old my teachers are the young.
What can’t be molded must be cracked and sprung.
I strain at lessons fit to start a suture.
I go to school to youth to learn the future.”

So what’s the Scoop? What does that poem have to do with timeshare? Nothing, really; I just like it and its theme does apply somewhat to the workplace. I use the word “somewhat” advisedly. See for yourself at Scoop du Jour: Age Matters Not.


Marriott Vacations Worldwide will report financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2015 before the market opens on February 25, 2016. 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 13628123 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 March 3, 2016. To access the replay, call (877) 660-6853 or (201) 612-7415 for international callers. The conference ID for the recording is 13628123. The webcast will also be available on the company’s website for 90 days following the call.

And of course if you don’t catch it, I’ll be giving you the most interesting parts of the report here in The GateHouse on Saturday, Feb. 27. :)


TWEET OF THE WEEK:

Have you seen the world yet?


Where are YOU going this year?

 

By special request this week: What If God Was One Of Us, sung by New Directions (the cast of Glee). Very nice.

What are you listening to tonight?




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:

CAMDEN: Here’s a bit of an update on the VO Group timeshare fraud case.

To begin with, Ian Resnick’s attorney is definitely earning his keep so to speak in defense of his client. On Feb. 3, 2016 he filed a motion for subpoenas pursuant to Rule 17(C), essentially in support of Resnick’s Constitutional right to face his accusers — many of whom the government brought forward long after Resnick had been convicted. You can get the details by reading the Motion itself at this link but in a nutshell:

Upon review of V.O. Group business records, counsel discovered many discrepancies, inaccuracies and/or omissions within many of the victim loss statements, F.B.I. 302 reports, and financial documentation produced by the Government for the purpose of sentencing.

Defendant, Ian Resnick, is seeking the assistance of this Court in obtaining, from “Wyndham Vacation Ownership” and “Wyndham Consumer Finance,” any and all materials, documents and/or correspondence which refer to, relate to, or concern any and all victims, including but not limited to any and all information related to 253 individuals, who are listed within the Government’s proposed victims’ list. (emphasis added)

WHEREFORE defendant, IAN RESNICK, through his counsel, respectfully requests that these requests for court ordered production of documents and materials, including but not limited to, all correspondence, including any and all relevant materials, concerning and/or in the possession of the above-mentioned entities and relating and relevant to this prosecution and the defendant be granted

The government quickly filed a brief in opposition but no hearing or decision has yet been forthcoming from the judge. I’m guessing that this move may once again cause a postponement of Resnick’s sentencing, currently set for Feb. 17.

Ashley Lacerda’s sentencing date — as of this writing — is still set for March 23, 2016.

Meanwhile, several of the defendants (but not all of them) who pled guilty to various counts of fraud in the case have finally either already been sentenced or have a date scheduled for sentencing. Keep in mind that most of them pled guilty to only one or two counts.

Francis Santore (a/k/a “Frank Martin,”) was set to be sentenced on 2/16/2016, but it has been reset to 2/19/2016

Steven Cox’s (a/k/a “Steve Coluzzi,”) sentencing is set for 3/9/2016.

Alfred Giordano (a/k/a “Alex Jordan,”) is scheduled to be sentenced on 2/19/2016.

Eric Reiff (a/k/a “Skip,” a/k/a “Skip Ray,”) was sentenced to 24 months (2 years) on Sept. 10, 2015 plus 3 years of supervised release plus he is ordered to pay $140,547.66 in restitution. He is incarcerated at Fort Dix FCI with a release date of 02/08/2017.

On July 18, 2014 Eric Reilly was sentenced to 36 months (3 years) plus 3 years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $3,040,767.54 in restitution to private and corporate victims. The Judgement says, among other things:

SEE ATTACHED PRIVATE VICTIMS/CORPORATE VICTIMS LIST OF 280 VICTIMS AND RESTITUTION AMOUNTS
The amounts ordered represent the total amounts due to the victims for these losses. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3664U)(1), this restitution order provides that the restitution to the private victims be paid in full before any restitution is paid to the corporate victims. The defendant’s restitution obligations shall not be affected by any restitution payments made by other defendants in this case, except that no further payments shall be required after the sums of the amounts actually paid by all defendants has fully satisfied these losses. The following defendants in the following cases may be subject to restitution orders to the same victims for these same losses:

  • Adam Lacerda Cr. No.: 12-303-01
  • Ashley Lacerda Cr. No.: 12-303-02
  • Ian Resnick Cr. No.: 12-303-03
  • Steven Cox Cr. No.: 12-303-04
  • Alfred Giordano Cr. No.: 12-303-05
  • Francis Santore Cr. No.: 12-303-06
  • Brian Corley Cr. No.: 12-303-07
  • Joseph Saxon Cr. No.: 12-303-09
  • Aimee Allen Cr. No.: 13-170-03
  • Vincent Giordano Cr. No.: 13-216-01
  • Eric K. Reiff Cr. No.: 13-310-01
  • Nancy Manno Cr. No.: 13-334-01
  • Jeffrey Sawyer Cr. No.: 13-335-01
  • Catherine Bannigan Cr. No.: 13-357-01
  • Ryan E. Bird Cr. No.: 13-406-01
  • Genevieve Manzoni Cr. No.: 12-303-10

You can find a victims list along with the restitution amount owed each of them on the Judgement document relating to Eric Reilly.

Stay tuned for more details as I find them.


“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 or bitches and moans 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:

PALMERTON: Blue Mountain Resort has begun development plans to build a luxurious 4-star condo hotel adjacent to its Summit Lodge. To be called Vista Lodge Residence Club (VLRC), it will offer studio, one, two and three bedroom condominiums that will be available for purchase or for rent. All condominiums will come fully-furnished and will have full kitchens. VLRC will provide a long list of amenities and services.

The planned site for VLRC will be adjoining the Summit Lodge at the top of Blue Mountain along the Vista ski trail, offering a ski-in/ski-out experience. The resort’s website says at this stage of the development, it’s too early to determine exactly what the prices will be for ownership. Once the actual architectural plans are finalized, they’ll be able to provide more specific details on pricing.

The estimated cost to build the condo hotel would be $20 million to $30 million.

But don’t start packing your bags yet. IF everything from architectural plans and all the permitting process goes smoothly, the resort wouldn’t start construction until spring 2017, with an opening date near the end of 2018.

BTW, in case you didn’t know Blue Mountain Resort is located along the Kittatinny Ridge, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Trail is a neighbor, and the Pocono Mountains form a backdrop for the resort’s location within the Little Gap Valley. Blue Mountain, home of Pennsylvania’s highest vertical, the most varied terrain and some of the longest runs in PA, has 39 ski trails and 16 lifts to get back up to the top.


“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

LAS VEGAS: Diamond Resorts International has officially gotten BIGGER with the completion of its purchase of the vacation ownership business of Intrawest Resort Club Group from Intrawest Resort Holdings, Inc. The acquisition was first announced November 25, 2015 and followed October’s acquisition of five East Coast properties owned by Gold Key Resorts.

The purchase price for Intrawest was US$85 million.

Intrawest Resort Club Group develops, sells interests in, and manages a points-based timeshare club called Club Intrawest. The transaction includes the management contracts with Club Intrawest, the current balance of notes receivable, approximately four acres of undeveloped land, and the current balance of points available for sale.

Club Intrawest consists of nine resorts across North America and more than 22,000 members. Resort locations include:

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Ucluelet, British Columbia
  • Whistler, British Columbia
  • Panorama, British Columbia
  • Blue Mountain, Ontario
  • Tremblant, Quebec
  • Palm Desert, California
  • Sandestin, Florida
  • Zihuatanejo, Mexico

That makes for a nice addition to DRI’s portfolio, don’t you think?



“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

HO CHI MINH CITY: Paradise Bay Resort Company Limited, owned by Israeli-born investor Igal Ahouvi, is pouring a total of US$300 million into its Alma resort project and to support their progress the company has opened an auxiliary office in HCM City to help market the holiday-ownership model.

Alma,The Resort in Viet NamThe resort is located on around 30 hectares (74 acres) of land on an island with one side adjacent to a main route that connects Nha Trang city to the resort, and the other side is the beach surrounding the resort.

At buildout Alma will feature 200 villas and 400 apartments, together with restaurants, bars, shops and other amenities. Here’s a rendering of what the finished project will look like.

The resort’s website describes it as “the perfect combination of Asian elegance and European chic”.

According to David Leibel, the company’s president, buyers of the resort’s timeshare program could stay for one to three weeks every year for 40 years in an apartment at the resort for US$10,000-25,000, depending on unit size, location and season. The limit on time purchased is designed to prevent speculative purchasing.

The resort, which will be Vietnam’s first purpose built holiday ownership resort, is backed by Blenheim Group. It is expected to open to guests sometime in 2018.




“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

scam warning >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

EVERYWHERE: GOOD NEWS! This week I have some uplifting news about the swindlers operating timeshare scams from Mexico: Eleven of them have been arrested, indicted and are either awaiting trial or have already pled guilty and been sentenced.

Let’s start with Gilbert Brett Freeman (aka Brett Almaraz and Brett Ford), a 44-year-old jackass who led a scheme to defraud more than 1,400 owners by falsely promising that he would sell their Mexican timeshares to corporate buyers. Freeman and others collected payments from the owners for fictitious fees and taxes that he claimed were required to complete Mexican real estate deals, and that he promised would be refunded upon closing. Does that scheme sound familiar?

Freeman, who hailed from the Chicago, IL area, operated his scam from offices in Puerto Vallarta (where he sometimes lived), Cancun and San Miguel de Allende. He was nabbed by U.S. authorities in 2012 while in Las Vegas, NV (where he was renting a Lamborghini for $1,399 per day; that’s how profitable those resale scams are!). According to the charges against him, he was involved with various Mexican-based companies, including Closing Services Online, First American Resale, Global Closing Services, Global Consultants, International Resorts Resale, International Timeshare Consolidators, Property Management Solutions, Resort Closing Services, Resort Resale, Timeshare Closing Service, Timeshare Consolidators, Timeshare Liquidators, Transfer My Timeshare and Vacation Resort Getaways.

The scams began in 2008 and continued in various forms until January 2015. Following his arrest, the case against him and his co-conspirators was transferred to Chicago and in 2014 he pled guilty to 5 counts of wire fraud; this month he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the $4.8 million swindle.

Here’s how it worked — and this should be very familiar to anyone who has been following the Mexico resale scam issues in this blog for the last few years:

At Freeman’s direction, “lead generators” contacted the timeshare owners and explained that the companies could coordinate the sale of their properties. When an owner expressed interest, company employees known as “liners” followed up to arrange the first payment, which the liners claimed would be refundable even though it wasn’t.

“Closers” from the companies were then brought in to convince the owners to make additional payments to cover the bogus fees and taxes that were purportedly needed to complete the deal, according to the charges. Closers and liners received commissions for each payment collected from the timeshare owners.

The final step involved purported “escrow employees,” who claimed to represent independent businesses and who assured the owners that their money would be securely held until reimbursement. In reality, there were no such escrow agreements, and the so-called escrow representatives were actually working for one of Freeman’s companies, according to the charges.

Here is a link to the actual complaint filed against Freeman and his co-conspirators that explains everything in minute detail. Get that popcorn going and settle in for a read that will have you steaming.

In all, eleven defendants have been charged in the scheme. Four defendants, including Freeman, have pled guilty, while the others have pled not guilty and are awaiting trial. The ten defendants besides Freeman include:

  • Donnie R Holton,
  • David M Hutchinson, (aka David Strickland)
  • Mauricio Vega Aguilar, (aka Moe, Tom Wagner, Marco Antonio Smith, Don Costas)
  • Craig R Malton, (aka David Windsor)
  • Erick Rodriguez, (aka Ricky Moreno and Eddie Monroy)
  • Victor Alberto Sandoval Rios,
  • Raymundo Eleazar Barron Ortega,
  • Amado Estevez Cancino,
  • Michelle J Pedelaborde, (aka Sofia Connors, Jessica Sampson)
  • Duane G Rogers (Dane Torpey, Mike Ford)

I found a minute entry filed on Nov. 11, 2015 that was particularly interesting. It said:

MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: as to Gilbert Brett Freeman. At the hearing at which Mr. Freeman asked to have retained attorney Beau Brindley substituted for appointed counsel, I inquired as to the propriety of using CJA funds for prior counsel if defendant had funds to hire counsel. I was told [by attorney Beau Brindley] that “some family members of his in Mexico were able to reach out to me over the weekend and come up with what I requested, and I have now received that.” I inquired who was paying for defendant’s representation. Mr. Brindley responded that he did not “know the necessary relationship between whoever it was that provided the funds” and that “this is not his money by any stretch of the imagination.” The financial department of the courts is now understandably questioning why CJA vouchers of $62,631.62 should have been paid when a defendant has access to funds to hire an attorney. I agree that more information is needed. By December 1, 2015, defendant shall file an affidavit stating who is paying for his defense, the relationship between that person and himself, the amount that is being paid, and explain why these funds were not previously available.

I’m not sure how that turned out, but the court docket shows 2 things: Beau Brindley as being retained, and Gilbert Freeman as representing himself PRO SE. shrug

At any rate, this is a hopeful sign for victims of timeshare-related fraud in Mexico that justice CAN be served. Will the victims of those particular grifters get any of their money back? That’s extremely doubtful, but at least this band of thieves has been stopped and will spend some time in the slammer.

That’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. 😉

Woot!

What you need to do if you are a victim of a scam is contact the authorities:

  • Your local police; There’s little they can do, but it does provide an official record
  • your state attorney general’s office; Make sure to mention it is an international, multi-state scam so they can coordinate with other attorneys general
  • the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
  • the US  Marshals Service;
  • Interpol – United States Central Bureau; Interpol’s databases help law enforcement see the big picture of international crime. While other agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol can track criminals and crime trends around the world. They maintain collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Their lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. They also analyze all these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
  • the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.

It isn’t likely to help get anyone’s funds back, but eventually it might help obtain some sort of justice in shutting them down/getting some of them arrested. Keep in mind that many of the scammers are US Citizens, Canadians and Brits; they can all be prosecuted (including Mexicans) if enough evidence is collected by authorities and if they can then be located and arrested.

As I’ve been warning everyone for years, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THE NAMES OF THE COMPANIES ARE!!! All that matters is the way the scams work! They all follow a similar pattern, and you can read all about the patterns of the main scams (resale/rental and refund/recovery) at these links:

As I’ve said before, it’s the old adage in action: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Never ever wire funds to a supposed escrow account in Mexico!

 


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

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

Logic or Emotion?:

REMEMBER: Zig Ziglar is often quoted as saying (or teaching) that “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” Though I’m quite sure he and others would make a good case in a debate forum supporting that proposition, there are others who believe people buy for both reasons and most often one reason without the other equals a ‘no-sale’!

The first thing to remember is that ‘reasoning’ powers differ from person to person, so to what one person firmly believes is a ‘logical’ reason to do something, like a logical reason to buy a new car, another person might not see that “logic” the same way.

The same is true of ’emotions’ to buy (or not buy) something. At the end of the day ‘logic’ and ’emotions’ are complex and often confused in both their interpretations and applications, which is why the best timeshare sales presentation will always present both ‘logical’ and ’emotional’ reasons to become an ‘owner today.’

A great example is the sales guest who is ‘the engineer’! Yes, they, too, purchase a lot of ‘stuff’ based on emotional ‘needs’ (or reasons) but give them a presentation that omits logic then the rep might just as well hand them their gift during the Meet and Greet phase and then show ’em the door, so to speak.

The ideal timeshare presentation should include both ‘reasons’ and every seasoned closer knows only too well that even after the selling is over both logic and emotion are necessary ‘tools’ when closing deals.

And because they know this, as do really good/outstanding front-end sales reps using the same tools during the presentation, they both are the savvy Timeshare Pros laughing 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 GateHouse
 
QUOTABLE QUOTES:
“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” —Mark Twain


You’ve probably heard that the Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas is a pretty fancy dancy luxury resort, and that’s true. Still, I wonder about their marketing. Here’s why.

On the resort’s website they say this:

    WHOLE OWNERSHIP
    VS. FRACTIONAL OWNERSHIP

    All Esperanza real estate in Cabo San Lucas is deeded with title insurance available for purchase from a U.S. carrier.

    1/24th – One week in a specific villa, and a float week bonus; starting at $100k

    1/24th – Two weeks floating in a four bedroom in the Auberge Private Residences at Esperanza; starting at $125k

Putting aside for the moment my opinion on how much that title insurance is actually worth for properties in Mexico, let’s look at the figures.

IMO, a one-week purchase of time in any resort, whether it’s fixed or floating, luxury or ordinary, no matter where in the world it’s located — is standard timeshare. Ditto with two weeks.

What makes one or two weeks at Esperanza (and other luxury resorts that eschew the timeshare terminology for reasons we all understand, amirite?) “fractional” ownership when the same or similar product at any other vacation ownership resort is properly labeled for what it is?

To put it baldly, Darlin’ you can call it whatever you want but it still is what it is. 😉


“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>> TIMESHARE PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:

JP Lind has been appointed Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Exclusive Resorts, the nation’s leading destination club.

In this role Lind will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating all aspects of sales and marketing for the renowned Club.

With more than 19 years of experience in business, sales and marketing, Lind was recognized as one of Marketing EDGE’s “Rising Stars” for his achievements in the marketing industry and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Before joining Exclusive Resorts, Lind was a Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development at SpotRight, a venture-backed social data and insights company that works with Fortune 1000 global brands and agencies.

Lind’s appointment to Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing comes at a time of continued expansion for Exclusive Resorts. Over the next year, the company plans to introduce new hand-curated, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences and add additional luxury villas to its already robust portfolio of over 300 multimillion-dollar homes across the globe.



Have you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Tell us about it! Send the information to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

seagull

Arthur doesn’t know it yet, but his
most recent sale is about to kick

 
 


(Do you “think funny”?
Leave your own caption in the
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