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Tag Archives: timeshare scams

Florida Man Sentenced for $10 Million Timeshare Scam

Ryan F. Khoury of Apopka, Florida was recently sentenced to 8 years in Federal prison and must repay $1.6 million and forfeit property in Orlando, Florida. Khoury pleaded guilty last July to commit mail and wire fraud.
Scam WarningThe scheme attracted over 5,000 victims, mostly seniors in the U.S and Canada. Khoury was associated with Fabien Fliefel of Winter Springs, Texas. The scheme entailed hiring telemarketers to contact timeshare owners and solicit fees with the promise of bogus buyers. Fleifel was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.3 million.
Whether buying or selling a timeshare resale it is important to protect yourself to avoid scams. Stay away from any cold calls as reputable timeshare resale brokers avoid this practice. Always do your research on the broker, the buyer, and all parties involved. Check with the Better Business Bureau, the involved state’s Real Estate Division, and verify they are licensed, reputable brokers.
Premier Timeshare ResaleBalloons In Flight agents are licensed RE/MAX agents and are dedicated to helping identify and stop scammers. PTR has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and zero complaints with the Division of Real Estate. Premier Timeshare Resale never charges a fee to buyers, and there is never an up-front fee for those looking to sell their timeshare. For more information on avoiding or reporting a timeshare scam, or help buying or selling a timeshare resale, contact us today.
Written by: Shawn Romanick, Web Author

Timeshare Scams: the Threat is Real

One man in New Jersey lost $1,900 to timeshare scammers last week, as a local online news source reported. Posting information about his timeshare online, the 68-year old gentleman received a phone call from two men from Florida claiming to be buyers, and requesting $1,900 to cover a title transfer and lien search fees. He never saw the money again.


Unfortunately, this is something that happens all too often in the timeshare resale industry with sellers who haven’t done their research and unscrupulous individuals willing to risk up to 20 years in prison for committing fraud.timeshare-scams-fraud-resale


For a variety of reasons, many of us end up with timeshares we don’t want or no longer use. Unloading those timeshares can be difficult and a painstaking process, and to avoid becoming another victim of timeshare fraud, Premier Timeshare Resale strongly recommends that you use a licensed real estate agent to complete the sale.


Licensed agents will never ask for upfront fees from a seller, and work on a commission only basis, which means they receive their payment for services when you receive your funds for the sale of your timeshare. Being licensed means that the contracts used are legally sound and that as a client, you have recourse to justice should anything go terribly wrong. While selling your timeshare on self-posting sites like Craigslist or Redweek may save you a few bucks, it could also cost you: $1,900 or more.


Using this link, you can look up anyone’s real estate license in any state and verify their standing and credibility. For older adults not as familiar with internet transactions and for those who just want extra peace of mind to sell their timeshare, PTR again urges the use of a licensed real estate agent. The more buyers and sellers use legitimate and legally sound ways of buying and selling timeshare, the less that scammers and fraudsters will have to go on.


Join us now in making the timeshare resale industry less about victimization, and more about legitimate business transactions.


Get Real, Timeshare Thugs

Real, hard time, that is. Twenty years of hard time is what one timeshare thug is facing after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering among others. The story in Biz Journals online can be found here, and it reads a lot like The Godfather. The mobsters met in prison before pilfering a presumably legit timeshare resale company’s database through a maze of lies and fraudulent business practices. And they all have nicknames, mobster ones: Pasty U Pasto or Posh was the leader of the ring, who got the 20 year sentence. He was also ordered to forfeit $3.5 million and pay another $1.06 in restitution, which is not even the $5 million that he creamed from unsuspecting timeshare scam victims, more than 3,000 of them.



Lovins, Posh’s sidekick, was sentenced to 33 months in prison after his conviction for federal charges. But he’s just another one of the timeshare mobster ring, which ran 41 thugs in all: 37 defendants have plead guilty, one is awaiting trial, and one is dead.


Joey Cigars, another man in the timeshare mafia, worked alongside Posh to build up their mob ring, who used phones more than firearms, and preying on innocent timeshare owners, would rake in the money. Cold-calling timeshare owners with a lie about having sold their timeshare and needing an upfront fee, this group raked in millions, with the minimum payment being $1,996 and as much as $10,000 per owner.


The time it took to pull it off? Only ten months. In less than a year, thousands of victims fell prey to the timeshare thug ring. Don’t be the next one: never pay upfront fees; do business with licensed real estate agents; don’t answer cold-calls or timeshare marketers; and NEVER PAY UPFRONT FEES.


The difference between timeshare fraud and legit timeshare resales is BIG

Remember that post about the feds cracking down on timeshare fraud? Here is another example.  Four and a half years of federal prison and a fine of $520,342 in restitution payment awaits a Florida woman for her role in a fraudulent timeshare company. Her co-defendant owes $74,289 and fourteen months in prison.


The Florida timeshare scammers conned more than 250 timeshare owners into parting with more than $1.1 million, so the restitution payments won’t give the swindled folks their money back, but it is a step in the right direction.


Operating under the names Smart Choice Vacations, TMI Enterprises, and Divine Vacations Group, the defendants used strategies of telemarketing to known timeshare owners and asking for closing costs upfront for the sale of their timeshares to nonexistent buyers. This is the practice used by most timeshare scams: the promise of a buyer, with a “small” fee upfront.


The timeshare industry is unfortunately fraught with fraud and plagued by these unconscionable people willing to take advantage of timeshare owners who feel trapped by and investment they no longer want or need. In our continuing efforts to legitimize the timeshare industry for both timeshare owners who want to shed an unused property and those who want to buy timeshare resale, Premier Timeshare Resale supports reputable timeshare resale business practices. These include:







Not all timeshare properties are created equal, and Premier Timeshare Resale does occasionally have to give timeshare owners bad news about their timeshare’s value on the resale market. We strive to do this with honesty and integrity.


If you’re wondering, “What’s my timeshare worth?” Please get in touch with us today. We will give you the straight answer, without the fraud and false hopes. And maybe, for some of us, it just might be an answer we’re hoping for.


Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Combats Scam Industry

November 12, 2013 – Premier Timeshare Resale with RE/MAX Associates (PTR), a licensed timeshare resale broker has recently launched a new service that offers an answer for owners looking to sell even the hardest to sell timeshares for no upfront fee. Timeshare owners can say goodbye to the scams and hello to a real solution.


Timeshare Resale BrokerPTR is a no upfront fee, licensed timeshare broker who is not turning anyone away. If you own a timeshare, they will try and sell it for you. There are no upfront charges or hidden fees. They are paid a commission fee at closing. This means, they are only paid if and when they sell it for you. This is truly a win/win for everyone; there is no risk to a timeshare owner but still incentive for the timeshare agents to get it sold.



Several months ago, the BBB, ARDA and Consumer Protection Agencies nationwide began recommending those looking to sell a timeshare never to pay an upfront fee and to use a licensed timeshare resale broker. This advice is backed by sound reasoning. Selling and closing a timeshare isn’t an easy task. Licensed agents experienced in timeshare resale have the best chance at completing a successful timeshare sale. Additionally, licensed individuals are being regulated by government agencies to ensure recourse in scam cases. Even CNBC Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson on The Today Show’s popular “Today’s Money” segment advised a timeshare caller to “go to a licensed timeshare resale broker.” .


Finding a reputable licensed broker to sell a popular name brand timeshare like Marriott, Hilton or Westin has become an easier task. But, what about the timeshare owners of lesser-known timeshare resorts? Who can these owners go to for help?


Owners of the more obscure timeshares call half a dozen brokers and get the same response “I’m sorry we don’t handle that resort.” Left with little to no options, these owners become desperate and the number one target of the timeshare scams. More sophisticated scams have emerged in which timeshare owners are told “no upfront fees.” These elaborate scams consist of fake contracts and requests for “good faith” deposits, paid up front. Others claim they are “appraisal fees” or “closing costs,” real estate terms that all sound legitimate. Unfortunately, these owners often have become victim time and time again; until now that is.


Premier Timeshare Resale is broadcasting this offer because of its belief in legitimizing the timeshare resale industry. Owner Kelly Marshall states that for the past several years her company has been inundated with requests to sell timeshares that her company didn’t have the ability to list and advertise. After researching what options to recommend to these owners and finding that they are left with little to none that didn’t require an upfront fee, PTR decided to do something about it.


For hard-to-sell timeshares, paying a fee in advance is usually just more money down the drain. By offering no risk to owners but a commission incentive when sold, the timeshare agents are motivated to get the owner the end result they want: a sold timeshare.


For details visit www.premiertimeshareresale.com

TIMESHARE SCAM ALERT – Pacific Property Transfer / Vacation Smart International

Timeshare Owners beware: It has been brought to our attention that a company going by the name Pacific Property Transfer IS SCAMMING TIMESHARE OWNERS.


Reports are coming directly from clients and relating personal stories of having been scammed through a fraudulent timeshare company with the website http://www.pacificpropertytransfer.com/ and a hailing phone number (310 755 7799). The phone number is supposedly out of Torrence, California, but no location information could be verified.


After a check on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Pacific Property Transfers is also known as Vacation Smart International, LLC. They have a BBB rating of “F”. The following is quoted from the BBB reports:


This company’s business practices resulted in a BBB media release titled “Vacation Smart International – Be Wary of Brokers that Call Out of the Blue.” Click here to view it: http://nashville.bbb.org/article/vacation-smart-international


This company came to the attention of BBB in March 2013 due to consumer inquiry. Consumers report receiving unsolicited phone calls from a broker claiming to be with Vacation Smart International with a resale offer for the consumer’s timeshare claiming they have a buyer for the property.


Consumers are told they must pay an ownership transfer fee ranging from $2000 – $3000 to Groupo Mayan prior to completion of the agreement, and that the money needed to be wired via Western Union.


BBB visited the address where Vacation Smart International claims to be located (150 Fourth Ave N, Nashville TN), and was informed there is no such business at that address. In addition, BBB called the advertised phone numbers 615.866.3203 and 615.866.5188 to inquire about the company’s physical location; however, the company representative immediately hung up.


If you have done business with Vacation Smart International, BBB would like to speak with you. Please call 615.242.4222.


– See more at: http://www.bbb.org/nashville/business-reviews/timeshare-resale-and-rental-marketing/vacation-smart-international-in-nashville-tn-37077176#sthash.DDmqNtL2.dpuf


This business is operating in partnership with Closing Advantage, Inc. a company falsely claiming to be located in Denver, CO. A copy that that business review can be found here: http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/timeshare-companies/closing-advantage-in-denver-co-90156289?language=1# – See more at: http://www.bbb.org/nashville/business-reviews/timeshare-resale-and-rental-marketing/vacation-smart-international-in-nashville-tn-37077176#reasonrating


Scammers frequently ask for upfront fees and then run away with your money. NEVER PAY UPFRONT FEES, and follow some of the tips in our previous blog entries about scams, fraud, and signs of timeshare danger.


To talk to one of our state licensed agents about other common scams and what you can do to avoid them, click here.


Please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues who may be vulnerable to timeshare fraud. The last known victim of these scammers was an 84 year-old gentleman who lost $6,300. Don’t let your neighbors fall victim to this fraud—get the word out: BEWARE.


Call to Arms: it doesn’t have to be this way

timeshare-resale-scams-industry-legit-premierWe’ve been posting a lot about scammers and fraud lately: how to avoid it, what it looks like, who’s gotten busted, and tell-tale signs and warning signals. With another piece of good news, this article reports how more scammers got busted and are facing long sentences and hefty fines.


One of the things that makes timeshare scams hard to bust is their ghost-like features. They don’t need an address or a registered phone account (pay-and-go phones are often used so they can’t be traced). And like the ones that just got busted, timeshare scammers can operate from anywhere, even internationally, so deciding how to prosecute them, and under which jurisdictions can be difficult.


We apologize if we’ve lost your interest already: “another scam alert or bust,” you might be thinking. But we need two things from you, as our interactive audience, our clients, and our timeshare community.


The first is your support in our efforts to legitimize the timeshare industry. As we’ve mentioned before, vacation ownership has a bad rap, and not least due to these scamming slime-balls, but timesharing is a valuable beloved way of vacationing for many. We believe in the love of travel, and hope you will help us re-make the image of timesharing so that it can be useful to a wider group of individuals.


The second thing we need from you is to help us reach these vulnerable groups of people affected by scams. The primary victims of timeshare scams are the elderly. They likely don’t read our blog, aren’t on social media sites, and spend limited amounts of time getting obscure news like these scam-related articles. Please, spread the word on savvy timeshare-selling. Whether it’s a letter to the editor in your local paper or a note in a bulletin at a weekly meeting or place of business, help us get the word out to elderly timeshare owners on how to protect themselves from becoming a timeshare scam victim.



1-Never pay upfront fees.


2-Work only with licensed agents.

3-Verify the company’s legitimacy however you can.


(Look them up in the Better Business Bureau, the Real Estate Agent directory, research them online—or ask a trusted friend to do so on your behalf, or visit their place of business, when possible)


And never, ever, EVER pay upfront fees.