Susan Salisbury – December 22, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of a Florida-based timeshare reselling scheme with bilking at least $15 million dollars from timeshare property owners by imposing hefty up-front fees based on false promises that they would sell or rent their properties.
At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the operation and froze the defendants’ assets pending litigation. The agency said Thursday it seeks to permanently stop the allegedly illegal practices and return money to consumers.
The defendants are Jess Kinmont, John P. Wenz, Jr., Pro Timeshare Resales of Flagler Beach LLC, Pro Timeshare Resales LLC, and J. William Enterprises LLC, doing business as Pro Timeshare Resales. They are charged with violating the FCT Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry.
The defendants telemarket to timeshare property owners and falsely claim that they have a buyer or renter ready and willing to buy or rent their properties for a specified price, or they promise to sell the timeshares quickly, sometimes within a specified time period, the FTC’s complaint alleges.
The defendants charge property owners as much as $2,500 or more in advance but fail to deliver on their promises, the FTC alleges.
The FTC noted in the complaint that the defendants string some owners along with additional false claims, such as that they will soon send them money from a sale or rental, and often get them to pay extra for purported closing costs or other fees. Consumers’ requests for refunds are typically denied or ignored, according to the complaint.
The Commission thanks the Florida Attorney General’s Office for its contributions to this case.
The Commission vote approving the complaint was 3-0. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on December 13.
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