TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 16, 2012) ––Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that Jennifer Kirk was sentenced January 9 to 188 months in federal prison 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 the Florida Attorney General’s Office shut these companies down. The companies were located in and operated out of Palm Beach County.
“Florida will not tolerate people who prey on those trying to sell their timeshares,” stated Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “This case is a great example of law enforcement working together to protect consumers.”
According to the civil complaint, which was filed in December 2009, 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. The Florida Attorney General’s 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.
“Our office has an established track record of targeting and dismantling criminal organizations, wherever they are located, that prey on unwary consumers,” added U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton of the Southern District of Illinois. “We hope to continue to get justice for the American consumer by working closely with our partners, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General,” said Wigginton.
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 the investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois prosecuted the case.
To file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, please visit www.MyFloridaLegal.com or contact the Attorney General’s Office fraud hotline at 866-966-7226.
SOURCE: Florida Attorney General’s Office