Over the past few years, we’ve covered multiple timeshare scams out of Pinellas County, Florida. Despite the sentences that have been handed out to those that prey on vulnerable vacation owners, the resale scheme seems to be too profitable for criminals to ignore. After pleading guilty in July, Manuel Parrado and Ronald Carapellucci also found themselves in prison for promising to sell timeshares fraudulently.
Like many timeshare resale operations before them, the Floridan duo conspired with a number of immoral entrepreneurs to pull off the ploy. According to the court’s public records, Parrado (47, St. Petersburg) and Carapellucci (51, Clearwater) organized efforts to defraud American vacation owners from 2015-2018 and possibly into 2019. While timeshare resale was the primary scheme, the two men were also said to have targeted owners of other properties.
How Did The Fraudulent Resale Scheme Work?
The criminal operation somehow obtained the contact information of numerous timeshare owners that no longer wanted their annual vacation. Like we’ve mentioned in previous articles, there are a number of ways third party relief agencies come across this type of data. Whether it be through lead generation tactics or leaked user data, the possibilities are endless – making it easier to sell timeshares fraudulently.
Once Parrado and Carapellucci had a list of people that would most certainly listen to their offer, their team used a telemarketing strategy to aggressively pursue them. Court documents went on to say that the duo even had telemarketers pose as real estate experts and lawyers in order to build credibility with their victims. Once trust was gained, they’d claim they had interested buyers and the deal was nearly a shoe-in.
Additional Sales Pitches Trapped Timeshare Victims.
As you can imagine, a good amount of people fell for the promising pitch. But once they bought into the process, payments never seemed to cease. Advanced payments were required for transfer fees, courier services, closing costs, title searches and legal fees; in order to consummate the sale. After collecting these, Carapellucci and Parrado then instructed their team to request wire transfers for payment.
By the time their victims caught on to the scheme, they had already paid thousands of dollars for nothing. Their payments were spread across all conspirators and traces of the scam tended to vanish into thin air. Timeshare properties were still owned and payments were still due. For some time, the predatory ploy paid well for the two men. But after years of choosing to sell timeshares fraudulently, the victimization finally caught up to them.
More on the Fraudulent Sale of Timeshares in FLA.
The FBI joined the St. Pete PD and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in the investigation. Once concluded, they presented their findings to Rachel K. Jones, the Assistant United States Attorney, for prosecution. The U.S. District Judge, Thomas Barber, ordered the sentencing of both men. To date, 14 additional defendants have been charged with and plead guilty to defrauding vacation owners with Manuel Parrado (2.5 years) and Ronald Carapellucci (6 years).
If you currently own a timeshare and would like to know more about getting out of it, you can always schedule a free consultation. Like resale, sometimes cancellation isn’t the best option. To read more timeshare news, feel free to subscribe to our blog.