Timeshare scammer gets 70 months in prison for defrauding elderly out of $3.37 million

Paul Michael Marciniak, the second main co-conspirator in a large-scale timeshare resale, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for defrauding more than 1,000 victims — many of them elderly — out of more than $3.3 million

Marciniac pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

In addition to the 5 years, 10 months he'll spend in prison, Marciniak was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $3.37 million in restitution to the victims of the fraud scheme.

Marciniak and his co-conspirators were accused of running a telemarketing scam to defraud over 1,000 timeshare owners out of more than $3.3 million dollars. They used stolen data to identify timeshare owners and promised to sell the timeshares in return for the owners paying in advance half of the costs associated with the purported sales.

There were no buyers, however, and the timeshare sales never occurred. The scammers just pocketed the supposed sale cost -- a common criminal telemarketing scheme known as 'the buyer’s pitch'.

The scam operated out of Orlando, Florida, under several different business names including Holiday Advertising, First Capital Financial Services Corporation, Great West Funding Incorporated, Beneficial Business Solutions, Vacation Funding Partners LP and Property, People, Travel, using fake front companies in various cities across the country, including Las Vegas.

The co-conspirators would buy inactive companies that had previously been licensed in their target state, use false identities, and lease temporary office spaces. The co-conspirators created websites with false information including customer testimonials, company officers, and press releases. They also used telephone numbers that made it appear as if they were calling from the location of the fake front company. These actions were intended to mislead the victims and make the scam appear legitimate.

20 of Marciniak’s co-conspirators were charged and have pleaded guilty for their involvement in this fraud scheme. 17 of these co-conspirators have been sentenced and the remainder await sentencing.

The Department of Justice states that consumers should use caution when previously unknown telemarketers offer unsolicited services. It is relatively easy for scam artists to create the appearance of legitimacy for a fraudulent business front by manipulating information available through the Internet. Fraudsters frequently are able to buy or steal information related to an intended victim that the victim believed was confidential, helping the fraudster trick the victim into believing the fraudster is part of a legitimate business.