Judge sentences timeshare fraudster to seven years and five months in prison, and ordered to pay back over $1 million.
Martin Steele, from Florida, has been sentenced for his role in a huge telemarketing fraud scam. From 2016 through 2018, Steele conspired with others to extract money from victims throughout the United States who owned timeshare properties, or other pieces of land they desired to sell.
The FBI investigated Steele and his co-conspirators and discovered they had placed telephone calls to timeshare owners and pretended to be lawyers and real estate agents. They went on to trick their victims into believing they had buyers ready to purchase their timeshares.
They then demanded victims made one or more advanced payments for various fees purportedly associated with the sales, such as closing costs, courier services, title searches, transfer fees and legal fees. Once victims agreed to pay the bogus fees, the men directed the victims to send money via wire transfers to the defendant, who then withdrew the cash and divided between the fraudsters.
Steele and his team often repeatedly contacted the victims, fraudulently advised them that additional fees were needed to complete the sales of their respective timeshares. They continued to dupe them into sending bogus fees until the victims ran out of money or realised they were being scammed.
Martin Steele was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and ordered to pay back $75,000 in proceeds of the wire fraud conspiracy and has also been ordered to pay back a total of $1,162,142 in restitution to his victims.
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advise and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.