EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (October 21, 2014) — Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that on October 16, 2014, John C. Nicosia, 56, of Rochester, New York, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and ordered to pay $962,538.61 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Nicosia had previously pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in a Las Vegas based telemarketing scam operating under the names Vacation Max and Showcase Resorts.
Vacation Max and Showcase Resorts targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States. The overall scam bilked thousands of consumers throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries of $11 million dollars. There were at least twelve victims in seven of the thirty eight counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois. In this case, Nicosia and other telemarketers for Vacation Max placed cold calls to timeshare owners and then falsely represented that their company had actual buyers for the owners’ timeshare property. 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. Many timeshare owners were told that their closings were scheduled within the next sixty to ninety days. Despite collecting fees from over 3,000 victims, these companies were not successful in selling a single timeshare unit. Nicosia and his co-conspirators simply pocketed the closing costs.
This prosecution follows an investigation by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hallock.
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: USDOJ Office of the Southern District of Illinois