Owner and Salesman Convicted in Timeshare Telemarketing Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 21, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Pasquale Pappalardo, 60, of Coral Springs, Florida, and Audwin Lovinsky, 35, of Tamarac, Florida, were both convicted yesterday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Pappalardo was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956. After the verdicts, defendants were remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. Defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2014.
In all, 41 defendants were charged for their involvement with a time-share resale telemarketing room called Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group Inc. (TMMMG). The other defendants were charged in Case Nos. 11-60190-Cr-Cohn, 11-60247-Cr-Marra, 11-60268-Cr-Hurley, 12-60019-Cr-Scola, 13-60049-Cr-Dimitrouleas, 12-60149-Cr-Scola, 13-60154-Cr-Scola, and 13-60155-Cr-Dimitrouleas. Aside from the two defendants who were found guilty yesterday, 36 defendants previously pled guilty, two remain fugitives, and one is deceased.
According to the evidence presented at trial, in February 2009, Pasquale Pappalardo, also known to the witnesses as “Patsy Ubatz” and “Posh,” and Joseph Crapella, also known to witnesses as “Joey Cigars,” started a branch office of Time Share Market Pro (TMP), a timeshare resale business. The testimony at trial was that they knew each other from a previous stint in federal prison. In June 2009, at the direction of Pappalardo and Crapella, their associates took customer files and the electronic database of TMP, among other items, without the knowledge of the owner of TMP.
Pappalardo and Crapella then took the employees and the documents seized from TMP and formed a second time share resale company called TMMMG. In November 2009 and January 2010, TMMMG hired salesmen who worked for other fraudulent telemarketing resale companies, including defendant Lovinsky, who used the phone name of Edwin Lovins. Among the lies they would tell timeshare unit owners was that they had sold their timeshare units and that they needed to pay a refundable fee to secure the sales. The salesmen would then ask the timeshare unit owners for a fee of at least $1,996 and as much as $10,000. At no time were there any buyers for the timeshare units. The testimony at trial was that both Pappalardo and Crapella were told about the lies being told by the salesmen, but Pappalardo and Crapella would not do anything to stop the salespeople from lying.
During the 10 months that TMMMG was in business, it fraudulently obtained approximately $5,000,000 from about 3,000 customers. Pappalardo received at least $300,000 in checks and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from the money sent by victims of TMMMG.
Pappalardo faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a fine of up to the greater of $750,000 or twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss. Lovinsky faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI in connection with the investigation of this matter. Mr. Ferrer would also like to recognize the assistance provided by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.
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.