GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Three Wisconsin residents have been convicted in a timeshare resale scheme that prosecutors say swindled several thousand people out of more than $2 million from 2007 to 2011.
U.S. Attorney James Santelle announced Tuesday that Jason Schultz, 31, and Jessica Gilbert, 25, of Green Bay, and Jessica Weinhart, 31, of Neenah, were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Each faces up to 30 years in prison.
Penalties were enhanced because the scheme defrauded at least 10 people over 55, according to the FBI.
A jury determined all three defendants were guilty of participating in the Green Bay-based scheme that resulted in more than 3,000 victims who were scammed out of about $2.5 million. The four-year scheme operated under several different business names, including Integrated Advertising Solutions, National Timeshare Resales, Administrative Timeshare Resales and Midwest Timeshares.
Victims and witnesses testified that telemarketers contacted timeshare owners and told them that “interested buyers” wanted to purchase their timeshares, but they had to pay upfront fees ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. They said that after they handed over their payment information, they got one-page contracts telling them they were only paying for advertising on the company website. When they contacted the telemarketers about the status of the timeshare sale or a refund, the victims said they were repeatedly given excuses that kept them from contacting their banks to stop the payments.
Five other people are awaiting sentencing after they pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.
The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Better Business Bureau and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection collaborated on the investigation.
Sentencing for Schultz, Gilbert and Weinhart is scheduled for the end of January.