BENTON, IL (KSDK) - A 31-year-old Wellington, Florida man was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Tuesday for his role in a telemarketing scheme that spanned North America, US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton said.
According to court documents, the scam operated out of Palm Beach County, Florida and bilked more than 22,000 individuals of approximately $30 million. Victims can be found in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all ten Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territory of Canada.
Wigginton's office became involved in the case because at least 54 victims of the scam reside in 28 of the 38 counties comprising his jurisdiction of the Southern District of Illinois.
The indictment alleged the defendant, Gino Marquez, worked as a manager for Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions. Beginning in October 2007 and continuing until January 2010, Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions operated a cold call timeshare resale scheme.
The indictment indicated Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions falsely represented that they had found buyers for the consumers' timeshare interests and solicited fees of up to several thousand dollars in advance to cover pre-paid closing costs and other expenses. These timeshare sales did not occur at any point.
The defendant and other co-conspirators are accused of simply pocketing the closing costs.
Gino Marquez was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison, five years of supervised release, and fined $1,000.
Others have been charged in connection with the Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions telemarketing scam.
Jennifer Kirk pleaded guilty to a criminal information indictment in June 2011 and was sentenced to over 16 years imprisonment and five years of supervised release.
Steve Folan, Ryan Brazel, and Brian Morris pleaded guilty to a multi-count indictment in August 2011. Brazel was sentenced in June 2012 to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Folan was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Brian Morris is awaiting sentencing.
Joel Intravaia pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an information indictment in August 2011 and was sentenced in December 2011 to 60 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release.
Ralph Johnson entered a guilty plea to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information indictment in September 2011 and was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment and two years of supervised release.
Kenneth Foote and Joseph Grizzanti were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis and pleaded guilty to charges in a Florida court. Foote and Grizzanti were sentenced in May 2012 to 60 months and 70 months in prison, respectively.
Jeffrey Tracey Fields was charged with conspiracy in a criminal information indictment in October 2011. He pleaded guilty to charges in a Florida court. He'll be sentenced in September 2012.
In March 2012, John Robert Eddy, Cloyd James Holmes, Jr. and Donald Meyers were indicted by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis. The three are awaiting trial.
Daniel Gregg, Lacey Stone and Joshua Schneidau were each indicted in April 2012 on one-count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
John Thomas Egan pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges filed in a criminal information indictment on January 6. His sentencing is set for September 2012.
In early July 2012, Garry Brown, Daniel James and Robert Schmucker were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. The trio will be arraigned on August 7.
Anthony Colon, Troy Dye, Chris Gilkey, Marc Martinangelo and Robert Santiago were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud in May 2012. They are all awaiting trial.