Former Employee of Timeshare Consulting Firm Admits Fraud Conspiracy and Unemployment Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 11, 2013|
CAMDEN, NJ—A former employee of The Vacation Ownership Group, LLC admitted today to conspiring to defraud owners of timeshare properties, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Alfred Giordano, a/k/a Alex Jordan, 33, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The Vacation Ownership Group, a/k/a VO Group LLC (the VO Group), purported to offer consulting services to owners of timeshares, including timeshare cancellation services. In March 2010, Alfred Giordano started working at the VO Group and was trained by Adam Lacerda to call customers using prepared scripts. Giordano would call customers and give them the false impression that he was working for a bank or lending institution and that he had the customer’s “complaint file” in front of him. After hearing Giordano’s false representations, some customers sent checks to the VO Group. Giordano admitted to causing over $120,000 in losses.
Giordano also admitted to devising a separate scheme to defraud the New Jersey Department of Labor by collecting unemployment compensation benefits while working at the VO Group. Giordano admitted to applying for and collecting $13,676 in unemployment compensation benefits to which he was not entitled.
Two weeks ago, Alfred Giordano’s brother—another former VO Group employee—pleaded guilty to an information charging him with his role in the fraudulent scheme. On March 27, 2013, Vincent Giordano, 28, of Atlantic County (using the same Alex Jordan alias as his brother), pleaded guilty before Judge Hillman to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
On January 23, 2013, co-owners Adam Lacerda and Ashley Lacerda and other members of the VO Group were charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and other charges. Additional members of the VO Group were also charged by criminal complaint in April 2012.
The mail and wire fraud conspiracy charge to which Alfred Giordano pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. The mail fraud charge to which Alfred Giordano pleaded guilty is also punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for July 22, 2013.
The mail and wire fraud conspiracy to which Vincent Giordano pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. His sentencing is scheduled for July 1, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; 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 Robert Panella, New York Region, for their roles in the investigation leading to these guilty pleas. He also thanked the N.J. Department of Labor, Benefit Payment Control Unit, for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alyson M. Oswald and R. David Walk, Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: Alfred Giordano: Martin I. Isenberg Esq., Gibbsboro, N.J. Vincent Giordano: Paul A. Sarmousakis Esq., Avalon, N.J.