BREAKING NEWS: On Thursday, September 5, 2013, four of the five defendants from the former VO Group who were standing trial for various counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud were convicted by a jury in Federal Court in Camden, NJ.
Adam Lacerda, co-owner of the former VO Group (now VO Financial Corp.), was convicted on 13 counts of mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. His wife Ashley, also a co-owner of the company, was convicted on 6 counts of conspiracy and mail and wire fraud. Money laundering charges against the pair were dropped last week.
Also convicted today was Ian Resnick, a close associate and loyal friend of the Lacerdas, who was found guilty on 7 counts of conspiracy and mail and wire fraud.
The fourth guilty verdict was for Genevieve Manzoni, who was convicted on 2 counts of conspiracy and mail fraud and found not guilty on one count of wire fraud.
Joseph DiVenti, who faced two counts of mail and wire fraud, was acquitted of both charges.
Each count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense.
The defendants convicted today were charged in a superseding indictment in January 2013 for their alleged roles in a $2.4 million mail and wire fraud conspiracy involving timeshare mortgages. They participated in a fraudulent scheme in which representatives of the VO Group called owners of timeshare vacation properties purchased from Flagship Resort Development, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc., and other timeshare developers and convinced the owners to submit money to the VO Group, purportedly to pay off their “mortgages” on their timeshares.
The VO Group claimed that the timeshare owner could pay off the mortgage balance at a substantially reduced amount—often by as much as 50 percent of the amount of the owner’s original mortgage—by mailing payment to the VO Group at a P.O. Box in Pleasantville, New Jersey. The VO Group representatives also persuaded timeshare owners to send the VO Group money purportedly to have timeshares cancelled or sold. Rather than paying off the timeshare owner’s mortgage, cancelling the owner’s timeshare, or selling the timeshare, the conspirators kept the timeshare owner’s money for their personal use.
A more complete rundown on this story, including sentencing details, will be published on Monday, Sept. 9.
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