>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:
ORLANDO: In case you were wondering, I haven’t forgotten about the recent draconian changes to Florida’s timeshare regulations (which were championed by ARDA & ARDA_ROC among other industry giants). Neither have the folks at the Florida Timeshare Owners Group (FTOG), who are keeping their members and the timesharing public at large apprised of developments via their website at http://www.tsownersgroup.com/
Tom Tubbs, one of the FTOG Board members, recently wrote an update on the situation that you might want to read. It’s logical, considered and provides his reasoned opinion on what it all means. You might especially want to read the ending of the article where it discusses what the fallout might be for timeshare owners who own outside of Florida.
Yeah. It could affect you, too, at some point down the line. Be aware.
ALSO IN ORLANDO: On Jan. 28, 2015 the State of Florida indicted Mark Gardner (28, Osteen, Florida) and Tammie Lynn Cline (32, Leominster, MA) on one count of conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, and four counts of money laundering in a case revolving around a timeshare resale scam.
Cline pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; she is set to be sentenced on Oct. 9. Her maximum sentence would be 20 years.
Gardner, on the other hand, appeared to be heading for trial — but has apparently changed his mind. He has now pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering for his role in the operation of a boiler room. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for the money laundering count. Sentencing has been set for October 30, 2015.
Gardner and Cline operated a boiler room in Central Florida. Along with the telemarketers who worked at their call center, they made unsolicited calls to owners of timeshare properties located throughout the United States. During those calls, they claimed that they worked for Universal Timeshare Sales Associates (UTSA) in Beaverton, Oregon, that UTSA had a purchaser who was interested in buying a timeshare, and that the timeshare owner just needed to pay a fee between $1,600 and $2,200 for the sale to proceed.
In order to convince timeshare owners to pay the fee, Gardner, Cline and their telemarketers sometimes claimed that an interested purchaser was present in the showroom ready to buy a timeshare, that a buyer had already deposited money into an escrow account for the sale, or that the sale would take place in about 90 days. Those representations were false. The timeshares were not sold as had been promised, and members of the conspiracy would deny or ignore requests for refunds, and would dispute chargebacks with the credit card companies.
In total, victims lost approximately $1.6 million due to the operation of the call center.
The flim-flammers of the world will always be among us. It’s up to us to get wise to their tactics and at least make it more difficult for them to part us from our money. Knowledge is power, people. Do your due diligence!
“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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