>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:
CAMDEN: Genevieve Manzoni, who was convicted Sept. 5, 2013 on one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud related to the VO Group timeshare disposal scam, was supposed to be sentenced yesterday (Sept. 4) but I haven’t found any info about it yet and there has been no update to the court’s online database so the earliest we can expect news at this point is probably Monday, Sept. 7. I’ll update as soon as possible.
UPDATE Monday, Sept. 7: Sorry, no new news yet (I forgot today’s a holiday), but I’m keeping an eye on it. One more thing that might be of interest to you and which I think I’ve forgotten to mention is that Adam Lacerda, who has been sentenced to 27 years in prison, did file a notice of appeal on July 28. So I’ll be keeping an eye on that process as well.
UPDATE 2, Sept. 9: Still no information made public. I think we have to assume that Manzoni’s sentencing date has been pushed back…
There is something else I want to mention here, though, which is the general fact that anyone who ever worked for VO Group or VO Financial is being painted with the same broad brush applied to those who were indicted, pled guilty and/or convicted. As a matter of fact not all of those employees were guilty of anything more than working for a crooked company and believing what they were told.
Case in point: The judge who is sitting on this case issued an opinion in its early days, before it ever came to trial, that clearly shows how many of the employees (particularly those on the lower rungs of the ladder) were duped.
The issue came up with a motion by the prosecutors to disqualify Adam Lacerda’s attorney, Marc Neff.
On November 4, 2010, the FBI executed a search warrant at the offices of the VO Group. After the search, several VO Group employees were concerned about the effects that the ongoing investigation might have on the company and its personnel. At the same time, Adam Lacerda changed the text of the sales pitch scripts to eliminate the representations that the VO Group worked with banks and lending institutions to settle outstanding mortgages. However, the government alleged that the scripts continued to include statements that VO Group employees were calling in reference to a complaint, and that utilizing the company’s services would not damage their credit scores.
On November 5, 2010, the day after the execution of the search warrant, Marc Neff, Esq. was retained to represent Adam Lacerda. Approximately one month later, on December 6, 2010, Mr. Neff and a private investigator met with several VO Group employees in the conference room at the company’s offices.
According to the statements of witnesses present for the meeting, Neff attempted to alleviate employee concerns about the ongoing investigation. Specifically, he allegedly told the employees that:
(1) he was Mr. Lacerda’s attorney,
(2) at that point in time, only Adam and Ashley Lacerda were targets of the FBI probe, and
(3) the sales pitch scripts revised by Adam Lacerda after the FBI search were lawful because they removed references to the company’s relationship with banks and other lending institutions.
According to the Government, after the meeting, several employees who had previously considered leaving the company stayed and continued to work for the VO Group because the attorney had convinced them that what they were doing was legal, thereby inadvertently furthering the fraudulent scheme. In fact, the conspiracy continued for approximately another ten months, and the VO Group employees continued to utilize the revised scripts whose legality was purportedly approved by Mr. Neff during this time. Furthermore, contrary to Mr. Neff’s alleged assertions that the Lacerdas were the only targets of the FBI probe, fourteen other VO Group employees were eventually charged by indictment or separate complaints during the course of the investigation.
In the fall of 2012, former VO Group employees Francis Santore, Joseph DiVenti, Ryan Bird, and Steven Cox participated in proffer sessions with the United States. Although the reliability of the witnesses’ testimony is an issue disputed by the parties, the record reflects that, during these proffer sessions, all four witnesses recalled Adam Lacerda’s attorney meeting with VO Group employees in the winter of 2010 to alleviate their concerns as to the ongoing investigation of the company and the Lacerdas.
Many employees eventually figured out what was going on and left the company for other jobs, and Mr. Neff was ultimately disqualified as Adam Lacerda’s attorney on the grounds that he had so insinuated himself into the fabric of the case that he faced, or was likely to face, significant conflicts of interest, with the prosecution and the judge determining that it was possible that Neff might be called as a witness by the State and he therefore could not properly represent Lacerda. The Court further found that, based on the record before it, those conflicts couldn’t be waived or cured by remedial measures other than disqualification.
My point is that not all who worked for the company were thieving, lying scumbags no matter how much some folks would like to believe they are.
That is all.
“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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