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Feds indict 15 in Fort Lauderdale timeshare scam

By Palm Beach

FORT LAUDERDALE — A federal grand jury has indicted 14 Broward and Palm Beach County residents on fraud and money laundering charges in connection with an Fort Lauderdale boiler room that allegedly scammed timeshare owners out of $5 million during the 10 months it was active, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Thursday.

Indicted were:

Pasquale Pappalardo 60 of Coral Springs; Pasqualino Agovino 49 of Coral Springs; Patride Ditroia 43 of Coral Springs; Louis Duany 64 of Wilton Manors; Michael Bleich 36 formerly of Boca Raton; Audwin Lovinsky 35 of Tamarac; Ibrahim Al-Dabbas 47 of Deerfield Beach; Michael Vincent Scheel 50 of Boca Raton; Diana Harrington 65 of Boca Raton; Ashley Lowton 24 of Clermont; Charles Lee 24 of Coral Springs; Kenneth Rockmore 27 of Lauderhill; Ricardo Davis 25 of Tamarac and; Milton Oliver 37 of Boynton Beach.

A fifteenth defendant, Clinton Ross 57, is a resident of Redondo Beach, Calif.

All 15 worked for Timeshare Mega Media and Marketing Group of Fort Lauderdale, and are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Pappalardo, Agovino, Ditroia, and Duany also face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Florida Department of State records show Duany as the president of Timeshare Mega Media, and his mother as the vice president but the indictment alleges that they were fronting for Pappalardo.

According to various court records, Timeshare Mega Media and its telemarketers would contact timeshare owners who were trying to sell their units and tell them that they had a buyer lined up. All the owners had to do was pay an up-front fee, usually $1,996 paid by credit card, which would be refunded when the sale closed. In some cases, Timeshare Mega Media would charge the owner a percentage of the sale — as much as $10,000 in at least one instance.

One problem: according to prosecutors, the prospective buyers Timeshare Mega Media had lined up didn’t exist, the deals pure fiction.

Pappalardo, Ditroia, Lovinsky, Oliver, Agovino, Duany, Lowton, Davis and Lee all appeared in court Thursday before federal Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow. Bond hearings are scheduled for Friday. Arrests are expected to continue during the week.

If convicted, Pappalardo, Agovino, Ditroia, and Duany could face as much as 40 years in prison. Bleich, Lovinsky, Al-Dabbas, Scheel, Harrington, Lowton, Lee, Rockmore, Davis, Oliver, and Ross could face a maximum sentence of 20 years.

So far, 41 defendants have been charged to date for their involvement Timeshare Mega Media.



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