There is a growing scam nowadays telling blatant lies on the phone to those owners who are desperate to get out of their timeshare contracts. Recently, some national heat is coming down about such fraud on three Palm Beach County pitchers. The federal grand jurors in East St. Louis, Illinois, indicted Darnell Disroe, 38, and Michael Lentine, 32, of Boynton Beach and Michael Starace, 42, of Lantana. Meanwhile, Boynton Beach police and US postal inspectors cooperated in an investigation that found more than 600 victims were bilked for more than $1.3 million in 46 states and Canada.
According to an unsealed indictment, Real Timeshare Marketing asked timeshare condo owners to pay thousands of dollars for costs associated with phony pending sales. Despite collecting $1.3 million in fees between Dec. 1 and April 28, the company was not instrumental in selling a single timeshare interest, as the federal officials said.
Similar cases also have become the top complaint to a state fraud hot line, surpassing mortgage scams, and involving more than 10,000 complaints against scores of companies. Palm Beach County has been a hotbed for the business with 10 of 17 companies subpoenaed by the Florida Attorney General's Office in March based in the county. Fines, settlements and pending civil charges at the state and local level have also addressed some of the complaints.
Currently, the federal authorities are pursuing charges of mail fraud and other offenses that carry up to 25 years in prison or fines up to $250,000 per count. Among others, an Illinois customer paid $1,886 after an agent for Real Timeshare Marketing promised someone wanted to buy the customer's timeshare interest for more than $20,000. But the sale of such vacation property never happened, as authorities said. The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois has recently announced the charges.