Port St. Lucie Resident Sentenced in $3.3 Million Timeshare Advance Fee Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 22, 2012|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced today’s sentencing of Michael Franzenburg, 48, of Port St. Lucie, Florida. U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced Franzenburg to 10 ½ years in prison for his participation in a fraudulent timeshare business in Palm Beach County.
According to the charges, and documents filed with the court during the plea and sentencing, Franzenburg and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. From July 2009 through February 2010, telemarketers contacted more than 2,000 victims and collected more than $3.3 million in advance fees for timeshare marketing and sales services, which were never provided. The telemarketers, operating under the name International Resort Solutions LLC (IRS), solicited clients through at least six boiler rooms, each of which was located in Palm Beach County. The telemarketers would make false and misleading representations to the timeshare owners regarding IRS’s services. Among the false representations, the telemarketers claimed that IRS had buyers for their timeshares, that IRS had closing scheduled for their timeshares, and that IRS would actively market their timeshares to potential buyers.
Franzenburg was the owner of IRS and was responsible for its day-to-day activities and finances. To date, 10 individuals, including Franzenburg, have been charged in connection with the fraudulent activities at IRS—Jeffrey Fields, Thomas Ford, Bryan Bergeron, Joshua Holmes, Colin Van Nest Talmage, Joseph Eichenlaub, Michael Ferrari, Kenneth Foote, Jr., and Joseph Grizzanti. Grizzanti and Foote were recently sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and six years’ imprisonment, respectively. All of the other defendants have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rabinowitz.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.