TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 26, 2016) — Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has announced that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested two Central Florida residents for running separate timeshare vacation schemes that defrauded consumers out of more than $45,000. Joseph Yariel Fernandez, 23, and Jael Talia Perkins, 29, both from Ocoee, Fla., allegedly targeted timeshare vacation property owners by brokering false real estate transactions and bilked them out of more than $45,000.
“We will continue to pursue scam artists who prey on Floridians and visitors for their hard-earned money,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Any time consumers receive a telemarketing call they can help protect themselves by checking with our department to make sure the business is licensed and in good standing.”
According to the investigation, Fernandez operated Alliance Trustco LLC and Perkins operated AVP Management Services LLC for the sole purpose of defrauding timeshare vacation owners of their money. Each business would make unsolicited telephone calls to timeshare vacation property owners, promising that the business had located buyers or renters for their timeshare properties. Allegedly, Fernandez and Perkins would then require advance broker fees, closing costs and other legal fees in order to facilitate the sale of their timeshare vacation properties. Once the victims paid the costs and fees, the real estate transaction would not occur and the business would never communicate with the victims again.
The following tips can help protect consumers from common scams:
- Before any purchase is made, research whether the telemarketer or telemarketing salesperson is registered with FDACS and if any complaints have been filed against them. This can be done by visiting FreshFromFlorida.com’s Business/Complaint Lookup or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
- Do not give out bank account, credit card or personal information (date of birth, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, etc.) over the telephone, unless it is to a known and trusted source.
- Request written information by mail about the organization itself, as well as the product, service, investment or charity.
Fernandez and Perkins were booked into the Orange County Jail today on multiple felony charges, including: organized scheme to defraud, a third degree felony; grand theft, a third degree felony; unlicensed telemarketing, a third degree felony; and operating as a real estate broker without a license, a third degree felony.
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services