South Carolina Man Admits Tampering with Witness and Lying During Federal Criminal Trial
CAMDEN, NJ—A South Carolina man today admitted tampering with a witness in a federal criminal trial that concluded in September 2013, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Dennis Nadeau, 53, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of witness tampering.
According to documents filed in this case and in the prior criminal case and statements made in court:
From 2010 through 2013, Nadeau worked at the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC (VO Group) and its successor VO Financial. In 2013, 13 former VO Group employees pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud timeshare owners. Four other VO Group employees, including VO Group President Adam Lacerda and his wife, Ashley Lacerda, were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to defraud and related charges after a seven-week trial that concluded in September 2013. The Lacerdas have been in custody since the trial and all defendants are awaiting sentencing.
Shortly before the start of last year’s trial, Ashley Lacerda directed Nadeau to call former VO Group customers who had spoken to the FBI. Nadeau was told to try to convince them that everything had been explained to them and that any problems occurred because they had not followed the VO Group’s instructions. After Nadeau had an initial call with a witness, Adam Lacerda gave Nadeau a written script and directed him to call the witness again using the script. Adam Lacerda told Nadeau that he wanted to obtain ammunition to use when the witness testified at trial and instructed him to record the call without the witness’ knowledge. With Adam Lacerda standing over him, Nadeau called witness using the script and tried to get the witness to agree with several false statements.
The witness testified at trial and the recording was played during the witness’ trial testimony.
Nadeau then testified at trial as one of Adam Lacerda’s defense witnesses. Adam Lacerda prepared Nadeau to testify and told Nadeau to tell two lies during his trial testimony. Nadeau admitted today that he complied with Adam Lacerda’s instructions and gave false testimony at trial.
The count of witness tampering carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and special agents from the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, NewYork Region, with the ongoing investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. David Walk Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.