It was announced on January 9, 2012 that Jennifer Kirk was sentenced to 188 months (almost 16 years) in prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud when Kirk victimized consumers in a timeshare telemarking scam. Kirk will also serve five years of supervised release after the completion of her prison term, during which she is forbidden from the involvement in any telemarking industry and she must pay a $15,000 fine and a $100 assesment.
Kirk bilked over 22,000 victims (in all fifty states, D.C., Puerto Rico, all ten Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territory of Canada) of around $30 million in her telemarking scam where she promised consumers she could resell their timeshares.
Kirk pled guilty on June 30, 2011, to a criminal information which alleged that she operated Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions in Palm Beach County, Florida between October of 2007 and December of 2009.
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She employed telemarketers who placed cold calls to timeshare owners and then falsely represented that their company had actual buyers for the owners’ timeshare property. Her 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. Despite collecting fees from 22,000 victims, her companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit, the Information alleged. Kirk, and her co-conspirators, the Information alleged, simply pocketed the closing costs.
Several others have been charged in Kirk’s telemarketing scam. On August 17, 2011, a federal grand jury charged Ryan Brazel, Brian Morris and Steve Folan in a multi-count indictment for their involvement in the alleged scheme.
Joel Intravaia pled guilty to conspiracy in an information filed on August 19, 2011. He was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and three (3) years supervised release on December 9, 2011. Ralph Johnson entered a guilty plea to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information on September 8, 2011. He was sentenced on December 16, 2011, to 46 months imprisonment and two (2) years supervised release.
On October 7, 2011, each filed a consent to transfer their case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in order to plead guilty to the charges there. Sentencing for Foote and Grizzanti is scheduled for March 30, 2012, in the Southern District of Florida. Jeffrey Tracey Fields was charged with conspiracy in a criminal information on October 25, 2011. He filed a consent to transfer his case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in order to plead guilty to the charges there. John Thomas Egan pled guilty to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information on January 6, 2012. His sentencing is set for April 16, 2012.
In a related prosecution, Darnel Disroe, Michael Lentine, and Michael Starace were each convicted and sentenced to prison for their role in the operation of Real Timeshare Marketing, another timeshare resale scheme operating in Palm Beach County Florida. The indictment charges that Real Timeshare Marketing was a spin-off of Kirk’s Creative Vacation Solutions and used the same fraudulent sales pitch. Lentine was sentenced on January 7, 2011, to 51 months imprisonment and five (5) years supervised release. Starace was sentenced on January 28, 2011, to 18 months imprisonment and five (5) years supervised release. On May 6, 2011, Disroe was sentenced to 121 months imprisonment and five (5) years supervised release.
So far, eleven (11) individuals have been charged in connection with the operation of Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions. The investigation is continuing into those timeshare resale scams.
“Our office has an established track record of targeting and dismantling criminal organizations, wherever they are located, that prey on unwary consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton. “We hope to continue to get justice for the American consumer by working closely with our partners, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys’ General,” said Wigginton. “Florida will not tolerate people who prey on those trying to sell their timeshares,” stated Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “This case is a great example of law enforcement working together to protect consumers” – Source.
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