The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois announced today that a federal grand jury returned four one-count indictments for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud involving a telemarketer scam that operated out of Las Vegas.
Stephen R. Wigginton announced indictments against the following people, all of Las Vegas: Elpenike Eddy-Aldava, 73, Becky S. Marrs, 66, Robert K. Mathews, 51, and Patrick A. Nosack, 33.
Each is subject to a term of imprisonment of up to 25 years, a fine of $250,000 and five years of supervised release.
The charges arose out of a telemarketing scam which operated in Las Vegas, Nevada, which the indictments allege bilked over 3,000 victims of approximately $10 million. Consumers were victimized in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all 10 Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territory of Canada, as well as Australia, Israel and the United Kingdom.
There were at least 12 victims in nine of the 38 counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
The indictments allege that the scheme operated from Dec. 5, 2006, until Jan. 24, 2012.
The indictments allege that the individuals were telemarketers at a telemarketing company called Vacation Max, which operated a timeshare resale scam. The company purported to be a Georgia corporation located in Delaware, but actually operated in Las Vegas.
The indictments allege that the company falsely represented that they had found corporate buyers interested in acquiring blocks of timeshare units including the consumer’s timeshare unit for purported business and tax purposes. The company solicited fees of up to several thousand dollars from each timeshare owner in purported pre-paid closing costs and related expenses. The indictments allege that the purported sales did not occur and that Vacation Max did not successfully sell any consumer’s timeshare interest except a relatively small number at fire sale prices.
In May 2013, the owner of Vacation Max, Michael Patrick Sullivan, was indicted. Sullivan pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing. In March 2014, a telemarketer for Vacation Max, John Nicosia, was indicted. Nicosia is awaiting trial.
These cases are four of approximately 60 cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois relating to timeshare resale fraud and part of an ongoing investigation by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The prosecution of the cases is being handled by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hallock and Assistant United States Attorney Liam Coonan.