Florida is no stranger to fraudulent timeshare resale groups and many senior owners who live in the sunshine state and around the nation have been repeatedly victimized by these companies who promote unqualified guarantees of quick sales.
Once the advance fee is paid, timeshare owners often report that the resale company becomes unresponsive and eventually, the phones become disconnected, making it impossible to reach company representatives. Timeshare Resale Fraud was at a peak in 2012 when Florida Legislature passed the “Timeshare Resale Accountability Act” requiring resale service providers to adhere to strict oversight and regulation. Some four years later however, it remains a constant battle for law enforcement to keep up with bad operators. The slow process of investigation and prosecution can sometimes push desperate owners looking for help to jump at the chance to work with an entity who claims that they can get an owners money back.
Enter, June Andriulatis who several years ago set up a company called Advocates for Seniors, LLC. The company held itself out as an advocacy group that promised relief and recovery for those owners who were scammed by resale companies. Andriulatis charged $99 in advance but allegedly never attempted to help the victims and essentially revictimized the same owners, charging their accounts multiple times according to reports.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested her earlier this month and charged her with grand theft after identifying 450 victims.
The Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a release that “We will not allow unscrupulous individuals to further victimize consumers who have already been victimized by timeshare fraud and are seeking financial help.” She vowed to hold scammers accountable.