CAMDEN, N.J. (June 6, 2016) –– An Atlantic County, New Jersey, woman was sentenced June 3 to 72 months in prison for her role in a $3 million conspiracy to scam customers by offering phony consulting services to owners of timeshares through the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ashley Lacerda, 36, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, was convicted in September 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud flowing a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:
Ashley Lacerda and her codefendants schemed to defraud hundreds of timeshare owners by offering fraudulent consulting services through their company, the Vacation Ownership Group (now VO Financial). Her husband, Adam Lacerda, 32, the company founder, president and chief executive officer, devised the company’s fraudulent sales pitches. He directed his sales force to tell numerous lies to VO customers, including that VO worked with the banks holding the customers’ loans, would use money sent by customers to pay off the customers’ loans on their timeshares, and could cancel customers’ timeshares with money back. Ashley Lacerda, the company vice president and chief operating officer, sent fraudulent contracts to customers and managed the office.
Three co-defendants were convicted with Ashley Lacerda at the same trial: Ian Resnick, 41, of Absecon, New Jersey, a convicted bank robber, started as a salesman giving the fraudulent sales pitch but became Adam Lacerda’s enforcer, with the title “director of compliance.” Genevieve Manzoni, 50, of Lake Worth, Fla. was a top VO sales representative who falsely told one victim she worked with a bank, another victim that she worked with a timeshare developer. Adam Lacerda was sentenced in June 2015 to 324 months in prison; Resnick was sentenced in April 2016 to 18 years in prison and Manzoni was sentenced in December 2015 to 42 months in prison.
The 15 victims who testified at trial – including business executives, veterans, senior citizens, a lawyer and a professor – were defrauded out of a total of $200,000 by the defendants’ sophisticated scheme.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Ashley Lacerda to three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; and special agents from the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent Cheryl Garcia, New York Region, for the investigation. He also thanked the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. David Walk Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Adam Lacerda: Mark E. Cedrone Esq., Philadelphia
Ashley Lacerda: Charles Nugent Esq., Marlton, New Jersey
Ian Resnick: Michael E. Riley Esq., Philadelphia
Genevieve Manzoni: Robert L. Tarver Jr. Esq., of Toms River, New Jersey
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: USAO New Jersey