-by InsideTheGate.com Staff, May 10, 2011
Three Florida men who were indicted July 21, 2010 in the U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, IL for their roles in a timeshare telemarketing scam have now been sentenced for their crimes, with the ringleader being given 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1.1 million.
Included in the indictment were Real Timeshare Marketing company owner Darnell Disroe, 38, Michael Lentine, 32, and Michael Starace, 42, all from Florida, on charges of scamming 615 timeshare owners in Southern Illinois and elsewhere by billing the owners for costs associated with sham sales.
The three men pled guilty late last year to charges of mail fraud and consipiracy, and two of them were sentenced in January 2011.
Michael Lentine, who ran one of the two telemarketing offices that made up RTM, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and two counts of mail fraud; he was sentenced to 51 months in prison (four years and three months) and ordered to pay restitution of $249,432.
Michael Starace, a telemarketer, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud; he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $23,723.
On May 6, 2011 Darnell Disroe, the last of the trio to have pled guilty, was sentenced to 121 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution for one count of conspiracy and four counts of mail fraud.
The three men are no strangers to law enforcement, having more than 20 arrests among them. Disroe was previously arrested three times since 2005 on charges including drug possession and fraud, receiving probation in two cases. Lentine had been apprehended six times, most recently for shoplifting in 2008, but that charge was not prosecuted. Starace had 12 arrests, one of which resulted in a short jail stint on drug charges in 2004.
The 2010 indictment against the men reads like a classic timeshare resale scam, alleging that the three operated under the name Real Timeshare Marketing and conducted a telemarketing timeshare resale scheme targeting timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. Real Timeshare Marketing falsely represented that it had found buyers for the consumers’ timeshare interests and solicited fees of up to several thousand dollars from each consumer in purported pre-paid closing costs and related expenses.
However, the purported sales did not occur, closings were not scheduled as was often represented, and, in fact, Real Timeshare Marketing did not successfully sell any consumer’s timeshare interest.
It further came to light that Real Timeshare Marketing devoted essentially no resources to marketing their clients’ timeshare interest and simply pocketed the purported closing costs. In just a five month period between roughly December 1, 2009, when telemarketing sales commenced, and April 28, 2010, when the scheme was interrupted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Real Timeshare Marketing victimized approximately 615 consumers in forty-six states and six provinces in Canada of over $1.3 million dollars.
When he pled guilty in November, 2010, Disroe admitted that all three men, along with most of their telemarketers, had worked similar scams in the past. It is not clear why Starace was the only telemarketer in the group to be indicted.
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