Federal investigators filed mail and wire fraud charges against 13 employees of a Fort Lauderdale timeshare resale telemarketer Thursday on allegations they falsely claimed they had buyers for vacation timeshare units.
Since October 2009, the defendants – Donna Ackermann Brown, Charles Blomquist, Peter Borkowicz, Scott Faraguna, Raymond Harcar, James Taylor, Ryan Greene, Jason Hampton, Chris Faccone, Steven Sokoloff, Marco Sguera, Joseph Giancola, and Ryan Soltow – were employed by Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale.
According to federal prosecutors, Timeshare Mega Media would call timeshare unit owners advising them they had buyers for their properties. To complete the sale, owners were required to submit a prepayment of $1,996 to the company for fees associated with the sale.
Once timeshare owners agreed to a sale, another Timeshare Mega Media employee would record them on tape consenting that the company could charge their credit card for “advertising” the timeshare unit for sale.
Employees of Timeshare Mega Media were told not to give unit owners closing dates for the sale of their properties in an effort to make it impossible to cancel credit card charges and obtain a refund of advertising fees.
When unit owners called Timeshare Mega Media questioning the sale of their units, they were falsely informed that the original buyer had a credit card that was not approved and that another buyer was interested. This was done in an effort to stall credit card charge-backs.
According to regulators, Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group raked in millions between 2009 and 2010, taking money from timeshare owners for what they called costs associated with sales.
Officials with the Federal Trade Commission, which late last year filed a lawsuit against Timeshare Mega Media, stated that they knew of no successful timeshare sales arranged through the company.
If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum 5-year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000.
If you believe that you are the victim of Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group, please contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at www.myfloridalegal.com or the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.