Jan. 16, 2012 – They boss behind a timeshare resale scam plot that took $30 million dollars from 22,000 timeshare owners has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The mastermind behind the scheme, Jennifer Kirk, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
Kirk hired telemarketers to her Florida-based companies, Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions, to make unsolicited calls to people interested in selling their timeshare and claim to have buyers lined up for their timeshares. They then took thousands of dollar from the victims across North America and Puerto Rico, who believed that the money would be returned once the sales process was complete. Kirk’s company actually sold very few of these properties and pocketed the money.
Federal U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy rejected her request for a shortened sentence, begging the judge to take her young daughter into consideration. However, the judge ignored her pleas and scolded her for even considering starting a family when she knew she was being federally investigated. She was also fined $15,000 but was not ordered to pay restitution due to the scope of damages.
Some of Kirk’s former employees are also facing jail time. Three of her employees went on to create Real Timeshare Marketing, and using the same tactics scammed $1.3 million out of their customers and are serving prison sentences that range from 18 months to 10 years and have been ordered to paid back the money they stole.
The only way to avoid these kinds of timeshare resale scams is to know how to identify their shady sales tactics and refuse to pay upfront fees. There are plenty of timeshare resale companies out there that can help you successfully sell your timeshare without charging ridiculous fees and scamming you out of thousands of dollars of your hard earned money.