Three Sentenced in the Fleifel Conspiracy

Fabien C. Fleifel, 45,  was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy that involved mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud.  He will be required to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

Bradley James Gomez, 36, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy, and was also ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

Amanda Nadine Rizkallah, 32, was sentenced to six months of home detention and a five-year term of probation.

According to the Department of Justice, the conspiracy involved unsolicited telephone calls to owners of resort timeshare properties to induce them into paying fees associated with the bogus sale of their property.  Fleifel and others opened bank accounts and entered into merchant account agreements to process and collect funds raised in the scheme, and they set up phony mailing addresses to collect funds mailed in by timeshare owners.

Fleifel hired and trained telemarketers to work in boiler rooms he set up.  These telemarketers were instructed to call timeshare owners using scripted sales pitches that falsely represented, for example, that a bona fide buyer was interested in buying their property, that the buyer had paid money into an escrow account, and that the buyer was ready to close on the property.  The telemarketers falsely advised timeshare owners that they would receive all the funds from the sale within days, they must pay a one-time fee to cover the title search and other closing costs, and they would be refunded all fees paid if the sale did not close within 90 days.

After the conspirators obtained money from the timeshare owners, they made additional false and fraudulent statements to lull them and to keep them from investigating the transactions, complaining to law enforcement, or requesting charge backs to their credit cards.

Toward the end of the conspiracy, Fleifel set up and operated a boiler room called Consumer Rights Advocates.  Fleifel’s telemarketers contacted timeshare owners who previously were defrauded during the conspiracy or were defrauded by other boiler rooms operating a similar fraud.  Fleifel’s telemarketers fraudulently represented that, for a fee, they could recover the timeshare owners’ lost funds.

The full list of members of the conspiracy were:

  • Edmond Charles Burke, 34, of Sanford, Florida;
  • Kari Lynn Cash, 46, of Winter Park, Florida;
  • Kevin Jacob Frater, 35, of Longwood, Florida;
  • Fabien C. Fleifel, 45,  of Winter Springs, Florida;
  • Bradley James Gomez, 36, of Longwood, Florida;
  • Rani F. Khoury, 40, of Lake Mary, Florida;
  • Courtney Darrell Lister, 39, of Midland, Texas;
  • Joseph Bud Ramos, 27, of Tennessee;
  • Armanda Nadine Rizkallah, 32, of Oviedo, Florida;
  • Eric Rosado, of Orlando, Florida;
  • Kevin Sanchez of Orlando, Florida;
  • Cesar Trinidad of Apopka, Florida.

 

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Mexican Timeshare Rescue Fraud

Have you been the victim of a Mexican timeshare resale fraud?  Beware the next scammer coming your way: the rescue fraud.  Here’s how it works:

You finally realized that you had been victimized, stopped wiring more money to Mexico, and contacted your local authorities.  They probably told you that there is little chance that you will get your money back and little chance that the perpetrators will ever be identified, let alone brought to justice.

Your name gets passed from one set of scammers to another.  A new phone call or letter comes, seeming to be an answer to your prayers.  The Mexican authorities have broken up the criminal cartel that was responsible for scamming you out of tens of thousands of dollars.  You have been identified as one of their vicitms.  Sometimes they claim that the Mexican government has set up a compensation fund, and sometimes they claim that they are an attorney in Mexico who is authorized to seek compensation on your behalf.  All it takes is a small up front fee to retain the lawyer, or to stake your claim from the Mexican authorities.

Desperate, and hoping to undo some of the damage from the last scam, you send the money.  You’ve been hooked again.  Just as the last group did, they will ask you to send more and more money, always promising that this is the last small hurdle to recovering your losses, there is just one new fee that needs to be paid to a bureaucrat in Mexico before you can finally be made whole.  In reality, there is no compensation fund set up, or the lawyer that you are paying is not in any position to obtain any compensation for you.