|June 6, 2013
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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MIAMI, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Federal Trade Commission’s Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Charles Harwood, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Wifredo Ferrer, and other law enforcement partners today announced the results of a collaborative ongoing, multistate, multinational initiative targeting timeshare resale fraud. The ongoing initiative has resulted in more than 190 enforcement actions. The Attorney General's Office has sued nine Florida-based timeshare resale companies this year for fraudulent activity, and it has filed motions requesting temporary restraining orders against six of those companies. Obtaining restraining orders stops these businesses from continuing to harm consumers.
"We will continue to pursue scam artists who essentially attempt to steal from timeshare owners, and the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act that I worked with the Legislature on in 2012 is already having a great effect on ending this type of fraud. With strong partnerships among federal, state and local leaders, we will continue to protect Floridians," stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“Timeshare resale scammers have cheated tens of thousands of timeshare owners out of tens of millions of dollars by convincing them to pay for a false promise. But law enforcement at virtually every level of government is working together to put an end to the problem,” said Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, focusing his remarks on Florida, stated, “We cannot allow our elderly and vulnerable real property owners to continue to be the target of fraud schemes. For that reason, our respective offices – federal and state, criminal and civil – have joined forces to combat Florida-based fraud schemes victimizing timeshare unit owners across the country. These victims, many of them elderly or in financial distress, looked to sell their units to help make ends meet or pay other bills. Instead, they were defrauded out of more than $14 million in total. Such fraud will not be tolerated.”
Typically, timeshare fraud involves telemarketing companies that market their advertising services to timeshare owners interested in selling or renting their timeshare interests. Many of these companies charge exorbitant fees and perform few services. Attorney General Bondi worked with the Florida Legislature in 2012 to pass the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act. The legislation mandates that timeshare resellers provide specific disclosures to consumers before providing services and also forbids timeshare resellers from taking advance fees from consumers. The year following the law’s enactment, the number of timeshare resale fraud complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office fell by more than 57 percent. To read more on timeshare resale fraud, visit MyFloridaLegal.com.
The nine companies that the Attorney General’s Office has sued are:
· International Timeshare Exchange, LLC/International Timeshare Network
· Travel Buy Owner, Inc./My Vacation Station, Inc./Resorts Research, Inc.
· Premium Marketing Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Premium Timeshare Exchange
· Universal Timeshare Sales Associates
· Resort Property Depot
· Resort Solution Trust (filed in conjunction with the FTC)
· BML Marketing Company, Inc./Timeshare Solutions Realty/Timeshare Solution
· A1 Marketing Unlimited
· Access Travel Network
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S.Postal Inspection Service, and the Delray Beach Police Department are also participating in this ongoing timeshare resale fraud initiative.