Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Co-Owner Of Telemarketing Racket That Bilked $6M From Timeshare Owners Looking To Dump Their Units Gets Nine Years

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (East St. Louis, Illinois):
  • [L]eandro Velazquez, 36, of Kissimmee, Florida, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois [...], to 108 months in federal prison for his role is a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

    In February 2014, a grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Velazquez with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. The indictment alleged that Velazquez, and others were engaged in an extensive telemarketing scam which operated in Orlando, Florida, that bilked thousands of victims of approximately $6 million dollars, victimizing consumers throughout the United States and Canada. There were victims in seven of the thirty eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.

    According to documents filed with the Court in connection with his guilty plea(1) and sentencing, Velazquez was a co-owner of National Solutions and related companies located in Orlando, Florida. The scheme operated under more than a dozen business names including Bluescape Timeshares International, Country Wide Timeshares, Countrywide Timesharesales, and Landmark Timeshares, among others.

    Evidence provided to the Court established that Velazquez' participation in the scheme began on or about December 5, 2007 and continued through July 13, 2011. Telemarketers for National Solutions placed cold calls to timeshare owners and then falsely represented that their company had actual buyers for the owners’ timeshare property.

    Telemarketers then solicited advanced fees of up to several thousand dollars from each victim in purported closing costs that they promised would be refunded to the owner once the closing on the property occurred. Many timeshare owners were told that their closings were scheduled within a number of days. Despite collecting fees from these victims, these companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit, according to testimony from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

    The Federal Trade Commission investigated the National Solutions businesses and brought a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando. In that action the FTC seized the offices and records of National Solutions on July 13, 2011 pursuant to Court Order.
Source: Florida Timeshare Resale Co-Owner Sentenced For Role In Multi-Million Dollar Scam.

For the indictment, see USA v. Velazquez.
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(1) The fact that Velazquez copped a guilty plea (see Florida Telemarketer Pleads Guilty To Timeshare Resale Scam) to this crime, saving the Feds from expending the time, money and aggravation of a trial, may explain (in part, at least) why he was hit with only 9 years in prison. Contrast this case with a similar timeshare racket (albeit prosecuted by a different U.S Attorney's office) where the lead scammer forced a prolonged trial, lost, and was subsequently belted with three times as much slammer time (Racket Leader Who Rolled Dice On 7-Week Trial & Lost Gets Belted w/ 27 Years For Peddling Phony Consulting Services To Hapless Consumers Saddled w/ Crappy Timeshare Investments Looking To Unload Them Or Obtain Discounted Mortgage Payoffs).

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