Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 53 • January 13, 2012

In 2010, we received more than 12,000 complaints about timeshare resale fraud—more than the next four highest complaint categories combined. Tackling timeshare resale fraud is a top priority in my office. In addition to championing tougher laws to stop timeshare resale fraud, we diligently investigate these types of cases. I am pleased to share that one of our investigations has resulted in a 188-month sentence in federal prison for a woman, Jennifer Kirk, for conspiracy to commit fraud and wire fraud.

Kirk, now a resident of Illinois, was operating a timeshare resale scam that stole $30 million from more than 22,000 victims across the country. Kirk owned and operated Universal Marketing Solutions, which later became Creative Vacation Solutions, from October 2007 until December 2009 when my office shut these companies down. The companies were located in and operated out of Palm Beach County.

The complaint states that Kirk 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.

According to the complaint, despite collecting fees from approximately $1,200 to $3,000 from each of the 22,000 victims, her companies never sold a single timeshare unit. The complaint also alleged that the defendant and her co-conspirators pocketed the closing costs. My office obtained an injunction and asset freeze against the businesses, which prevented Kirk and the co-defendants from continuing to operate any timeshare or timeshare related businesses and froze all assets related to the businesses named in the complaint.

To date, 11 individuals have been charged in connection with the operation of Creative Vacation Solutions and Universal Marketing Solutions. The federal investigation is continuing into those timeshare resale scams. The United States Postal Inspection Service assisted with this investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois prosecuted the case.

Florida will not tolerate people who prey on those trying to sell their timeshares. This case is a great example of law enforcement working together to protect consumers.

On Monday, we will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who challenged America’s leaders to live up to the principles that this nation was founded on—freedom and equality. His passion and dedication to ensuring that every man, woman and child could pursue their dreams free of discrimination has truly made America the land of opportunity.

In the News
South Florida Business Journal - Timeshare fraud draws nearly 16-year sentence
Palm Beach Post - Telemarketing boss sentenced in time share fraud

Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Pam Bondi Challenges Plan to Take Millions from Oil Spill Claimants
Attorney General Bondi yesterday filed a brief in the multi-district oil spill proceedings in New Orleans challenging a plan to take hundreds of millions of dollars from the individual and business claimants who have decided to pursue non-litigation recoveries through the claims process required by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Click here to read the full release.

Attorney General Bondi Announces the Arrest of a Columbia County Woman for Abuse of a Disabled Adult
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that a Columbia County woman is in custody after being charged with six counts of abuse of a disabled adult. Pamela R Taylor, 48, of Lake City, was arrested on Monday, on a felony warrant by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Taylor is charged with six counts of abuse of a disabled adult, a third-degree felony. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Stan Mayfield Biorefinery Pilot Plant Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Attorney General Bondi attended the Stan Mayfield Biorefinery Pilot Plant ribbon cutting in Perry with Representative Debbie Mayfield and Agriculture Commissioner Putnam on Monday.
The facility will be operated as a satellite laboratory researching the use of inedible plant material to produce fuel ethanol, such as sugarcane waste.

Attorney General Bondi Joins the Florida Chamber of Commerce in Press Conference to Fight Casinos
On Tuesday, Attorney General Bondi joined the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in a press conference to oppose to the expansion of gambling.

Attorney General Bondi Speaks at Palm Beach County Days
Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Palm Beach County Days on Wednesday and discussed her priorities for the 2012 legislative session.

Attorney General Bondi Speaks to members of Florida Chamber of Commerce Board at Luncheon
Also on Wednesday, Attorney General Bondi spoke to the members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees. Attorney General Bondi thanked them for their dedication to promoting Florida’s economy and discussed her legislative initiatives.

Attorney General Bondi Attends Governor Scott’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Attorney General Bondi attended a celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday evening. The celebration was hosted by Governor Scott, the First Lady, and Lieutenant Governor Carroll at the Governor’s mansion.

Attorney General Visits Specials Guests from SeaWorld at Capitol
Attorney General Bondi paid a visit to the special guests from SeaWorld brought to Florida’s Capitol on Wednesday.