Three sought in Kissimmee timeshare scam

that stole $180K

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Henry Pierson Curtis   

Published June 30, 2015


A timeshare company in downtown Kissimmee stole $180,000 from at least 98 victims trying to sell their shares in vacation homes, according to police..

Joseph A. Taylor III ran World Mark Wholesale & Trade LLC on East Monument Avenue as one of 12 front companies targeting timeshare owners in the U.S. and Canada, police records show.

Taylor, Garey Williams and Berthony Vernet now face arrest on fraud and grand theft charges with bail set at $1 million each, records show.

"The suspects would scour Internet sites designed to help sell timeshare properties," police said in a statement released Thursday. "They would contact the victims and convince them they had a buyer for their property ... and request money be wired up front to cover closing costs."

Whenever owners wired money, the suspects contacted them seeking more money claiming additional costs, records show.

On Dec. 18, one of the victims sent $3,000 and was told four days later she needed to send $1,764 to cover taxes for profits on the sale. But a manager at her Chase Bank branch warned her Whole Mark's account had been flagged for fraud and she decided not to send more money, records show.

Whole Marks' staff called her several times asking when the money would arrive until she stopped taking their calls.

The scam is so common in Florida the state Legislature passed the Time share Resale Accountability Act in 2012 prohibiting companies from taking advance fees.

To expedite processing owners' complaints, the state Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes provides an online form.

On Thursday, arrest warrants were issued for Taylor, 32, Williams, 35, both of Orlando, and Vernet, 19, of Kissimmee. Anyone with information about them is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.