(September 9, 2013) As has been previously noted in InsideTheGate.com, on September 5, 2013, four of the five defendants from the former VO Group who were standing trial for various counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud were convicted by a jury in Federal Court in Camden, NJ. This is an update on those convictions and information on what they were found guilty of doing.
Four defendants – Adam Lacerda, 28, and Ashley Lacerda, 32, both of Egg Harbor Township, N.J.; Ian Resnick, 37, of Abescon, N.J.; and Genevieve Manzoni, 46, of Lake Worth, Fla. – were convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
In addition to the conspiracy charge:
- Adam Lacerda was convicted of nine counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
- Ashley Lacerda was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud.
- Resnick was convicted of three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
- Manzoni was also convicted of one count of mail fraud.
The fifth defendant in the trial, low-level telemarketer Joseph Diventi, 32, of Somers Point, N.J., was acquitted of the two counts with which he was charged.
The jury returned the verdict after two days of deliberation following a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court.
Each count of which the defendants were convicted carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing before Judge Hillman is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2013 for Resnick and Manzoni and Dec. 13, 2013, for the Lacerdas.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:
The defendants schemed to defraud hundreds of timeshare owners by offering fraudulent consulting services through their company, the Vacation Ownership Group (now VO Financial) in a $3 million conspiracy. Adam Lacerda, 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. His wife Ashley Lacerda, the company vice president and chief operating officer, sent fraudulent contracts to customers and managed the office.
Resnick, 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 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.
225 victims of the fraud were interviewed by the FBI during the course of the investigation into this case, with the possibility of many more who simply never came forward for various reasons. The 14 victims who testified at trial – including business executives, veterans, senior citizens, a lawyer and a professor – were defrauded out of a total of tens of thousands of dollars by the defendants’ sophisticated scheme.
To date, 13 other members of the VO Group have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with the scheme. Half a dozen of them also testified at the trial on behalf of the prosecution. All are still awaiting sentencing.
For further research on this case, see the following:
- Ten Charged in Superseding Indictment in Timeshare Mortgage Fraud Scheme
- Three From VO Group Arraigned on Timeshare Mortgage Fraud Charges (the original indictment in March, 2012)
- FBI Special Agent John J. Mesisca’s affidavit in support of the charges (PDF)
- Or Search our archives