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Mother and son charged with timeshare fraud

When the real estate market hit bottom a few years ago many people who had invested in Florida timeshares sought to get out of their expensive investments. This led to a rise in timeshare resale fraud in the state, as unscrupulous businesses tried to take advantage of desperate sellers. The fallout from that period continues, as federal authorities continue to make arrests in connection with this form of theft by fraud. Recently a mother and son were among the latest charged with involvement in a timeshare resale scheme.

Federal prosecutors allege that the son, who has a prior felony conviction on his criminal record, ran the daily operations of a Fort Lauderdale company that promised timeshare owners it could sell their property interests. The feds allege that the man's 65-year-old mother worked for the company, dealing with complaints from customers and working with them on applications. According to the allegations, the mother and son knew telemarketers working for the company lied to sellers by telling them the company had found buyers for their properties. The company then allegedly pressured the sellers to send money to close the deal. Prosecutors allege that although the company took in over $4 million, there is no indication they ever sold a single timeshare unit.

The mother and son are the latest of 26 people who have been charged in connection with the allegedly fraudulent company. It appears that federal authorities went after the small fry first, as is common in these cases. Typically prosecutors will arrest lower-level operatives first and then try to get them to testify against higher-level suspects in exchange for a reduction of charges or a lighter sentence.

Prosecutors take property crimes like this very seriously. The future impact of being charged with a crime like this can be devastating, not only in terms of the actual sentence but in terms of loss of reputation in the community. With the stakes this high, anyone accused of these types of crimes should mount the most aggressive defense possible.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Feds: "Joey Cigars" and his mother participated in $4 million timeshare fraud," Jon Burstein, Jan. 11, 2013

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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