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Midwest and Southern USA: March 24, 2012

ILLINOIS:

EAST ST. LOUIS: The Feds play hardball in Illinois. A grand jury in East St. Louis has returned indictments against four more men associated with the infamous Universal Marketing Solutions and Creative Vacation Solutions timeshare resale scams, which operated out of Palm Beach, FL. Accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud are John Robert Eddy, 29, Cloyd James Holmes, Jr., 50, Gino Christopher Marquez, 31, and Donald Meyers, 43.

As was the case for others charged and/or convicted in this case, they allegedly called timeshare owners in all 50 States promising they had buyers for their timeshares. The telemarketers said they just needed money to cover title or closing fees – anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 or more – and the money would be refunded after the sale.

Of course it was all a lie; there were no buyers and the money went into the scammers’ pockets. The companies bilked over 22,000 people out of $30 million before they were stopped.

This particular investigation has been ongoing for at least a year, with ringleader Jennifer Kirk being sentenced to 15 years just this last January. She cried at the sentencing.

As far back as 2009 the State of Florida filed an injunction and a lawsuit against Kirk’s companies, seeking to block the defendants from engaging in any timeshare resale business. It also requested restitution for consumers, civil penalties and reimbursement for fees and costs related to the investigation. Kirk operated the scam with her brother, Scott Kirk, along with John Egan and Ryan Brazel. A former partner/boyfriend, Matthew Hicks, died in February 2009 in a Delray Beach hotel of an accidental drug overdose.

These new indictments bring the number of perps charged in this case to 13.




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