>> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:
LAS VEGAS: There’s plenty to report from Vegas this week, so let’s start with the upbeat part: It’s a done deal, and if you’re in town and happen to drive past the former Las Vegas Hilton Hotel you’ll see it for yourself.
Westgate Resorts’ logo is now all over the place; the resort has been thoroughly branded.
David Siegel himself, along with Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Tom Collins, ceremonially lifted the big W to begin adding Westgate’s name to the famous fan-shaped marquee at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. And not just any old way; at 20 ft. 1 in. tall the letters are the tallest signage letters on any marquee in the city.
Here’s David Siegel standing triumphantly in front of the big W as it’s about to be added to the marquee. (Do any of you remember “the Big W” in the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”?)
A pair of Las Vegas showgirls and dozens of Westgate team members were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Siegel plans to invest more than $250 million to renovate every square inch of the property and chose to save the jobs of 2,200 team members when he took over the resort. They also created and are currently hiring for more than 200 positions in departments including engineering, maintenance and housekeeping to work on renovations and other new programs that are being developed.
It’s all good. And doesn’t the marquee look nice with a timeshare company’s name on it?
ALSO IN LAS VEGAS:
The old travel club software scam is apparently alive and well in Sin City, this time via an entity called Prestigious Software Ltd., with an alter ego called Prestige Software. Here is the email that started me down this particular rabbit hole:
We were sold a “travel Club” software usage plan evidently. Promised they would take and sell our time shares, give us 12 weeks of vacation, would never have to spend over $199/week at any condo. The only time we could not get this price was exampled as the Daytona 500 weekend or New York City on New Year’s Eve. We were also told of free cruised [sic], greatly reduced hotel rates, and we could recoup our money by renting 6 weeks per year. We were not told about the additional fees and another company would sell our timeshare, and another huge fee to another company to rent our weeks. The company that we secure our vacation weeks is still another company.
Aside from the obvious clues in that email, why would I think this operation is not on the up-and-up? Let’s start by googling the name Cristine/Christine Arpon, who shows up as the P/T/D of the company. As it turns out, that name is associated with quite a string of similar companies, all of which have reputations of being fraudulent.
- On her LinkedIn Page she shows herself as the CEO at Prestigious Vacation (which is not a registered Nevada business entity) since March 2012;
- the Southern Nevada BBB has her as the President of VIP SoftwareLV LLC (incorporated May 2010, license revoked) and gives the company an “F”; the website at http://www.vacationpriorityrewards.net acknowledges that sales have stopped but service “for the license you own” continues.
- She is also associated with the following business entities originally incorporated in Nevada but now revoked: VIP SOFTWARENV LLC; Elite Marketing; Vacation Priority Rewards Inc. (incorporated in May 2010, currently in default); and the infamous WORLDWIDE RESORT CLUB LLC
Per this thread on TripAdvisor and the BBB as well as several other online sources, Prestige Software is an aka for Worldwide Resort Club, which was previously known as VIP Software. Note that Nevada does not show any registration for Prestige Software as a business entity in the state.
BUT, you can find out more about it all in this Oct. 2012 post I wrote: A company called Elite Marketing is promoting a deal where you will be to purchase a license from Prestige Software that will let you be your own travel agent and/or to book (timeshare) vacations all over the world at really cheap prices.
Other names associated with those outfits to varying degrees are Shehnaaz Pirbhai; Manaf Virji; Catherine McClintock; and James T. McClintock.
And once you pay any of those folks or any of their several companies, lots of luck trying to get your money back. My suggestions: Talk to the Nevada Attorney General’s office about what happened; file a complaint with the FTC; complain to the BBB and any other regulatory agency you can think of. Contact your local news station (or one in Las Vegas) to see if they’d be interested in airing a report on what you believe to be a questionable Las Vegas business, as a warning to other potential victims. Then let Prestigious Software et al know you have done so and that they’ve also been fingered in The GateHouse.
Daylight is the best disinfectant.
In January 2014 James Assi Jariv, 63, and Australian Nathan Stoliar, 64, were indicted in a 57-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements under the Clean Air Act, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to engage in money laundering in a biofuels fraud case.
Following his indictment, Stoliar’s arrest was sought by the United States. Located in Poland, Stoliar returned in early February to the United States to surrender for arrest. Stoliar pleaded guilty on July 29 to one count of conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, two counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements under the Clean Air Act. Stoliar is required by the plea to forfeit $4 million and pay $1 million in restitution. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering and wire fraud, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements under the Clean Air Act.
“With this guilty plea, the defendant admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government, specifically the EPA, and that he personally gained more than $7 million from the scheme,” said Dan Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada. “These types of schemes are complex and require an enormous expenditure of resources to investigate and prosecute. Because of the tremendous work of the investigators and prosecutors on this case, we were also able to seize and forfeit from the defendant millions of dollars from bank accounts, as well as real property in Nevada and California, jewelry and other assets.”
And this is related to timeshare how, you ask? Peripherally, is the response. In November 2012 eight people were arrested in a four-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire and mail fraud and money laundering related to timeshare resale fraud. Those people were James Assi Jariv (Stoliar’s partner in crime), his son Alexander Jariv, Thresa Lloyd, Varda Jariv, Jiwon Jariv, Ronald Frank Muise, and Michael Derek Muise, all of Las Vegas, NV along with Leon Avedikian of Los Angeles, CA.
The arrests and indictments were originally made in Las Vegas, but the case was subsequently transferred to Houston, TX to be adjudicated there.
They were accused of running a number of different named companies to conduct their telemarketing timeshare resale scheme targeting timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. The Jariv companies were registered in various states, including Texas, Nevada, California, Illinois and Washington and conducted business at multiple addresses in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, according to court records. They allegedly scammed approximately 1000 victims and deposited into eight bank accounts approximately $6,925,137.04 in fraudulently obtained timeshare owner funds.
Names of the companies they ran include, but are almost certainly not limited to: Timeshare Investors of America, National Funding Center (aka American Way Funding), International Resort Exchange, Global Financial Group, Global Equity Group and Corporate Resort Specialists. They were infamous in Las Vegas for their telemarketing tactics, including not paying their telemarketers. No one who wasn’t desperate or a crook would work for them.
Since that time all but three of the defendants have reached a plea deal with the prosecution, pleading guilty to various counts of crime in return for their assistance in prosecuting the remaining three.
James Jariv is currently being held in Nevada pending results in the biofuels case (there are current motions pending), while the case against him and the other two defendants (Varda Jariv and Jiwon Jariv) in Houston also awaits. In the Texas case, the trial for James Assi Jariv, Varda Jariv and Jiwon Jariv is currently scheduled for October 7 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 11C before Judge Lynn N. Hughes.
However things go at either venue, I’m thinking it’s likely that Jariv’s days of defrauding consumers and living big on dirty money are probably over. It can’t be too soon for those who’ve been deceived by his gang over the years.
“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”
-Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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