Galloway Man Among 16 Charged in Massive Mail Fraud Conspiracy
Eric Reilly was charged with conspiracy in the $2.4 million scheme.
A Galloway Township man was among 16 people charged for their alleged roles in a massive mail fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced on Tuesday, April 17.
Eric Reilly, 33, was among seven people charged with conspiracy in a $2.4 million mail fraud scheme involving time share mortgages, according to Fishman. Nine additional people were arrested in Southern New Jersey on Tuesday.
Reilly is one of seven who will have initial court appearances in other states, including Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, and the Virgin Islands before returning to New Jersey to face charges from the complaints unsealed Tuesday, Fishman said. Those arrested were to appear in Camden federal court.
It was not clear where Reilly was arrested.
The nine arrested in New Jersey included eight from Atlantic County. They were Adam Lacerda, 28, of Egg Harbor Township; Ashley Lacerda, 32, of Egg Harbor Township; Steven Cox, 48, of Ventnor; Ian Resnick, 37, of Absecon; Ryan Bird, 34, of Clementon; Francis Santore, 52, of Northfield; Brian Corley, 27, of Egg Harbor City; Catherine Bannigan, 57, of Egg Harbor Township; and Joseph Diventi, 32, of Somers Point.
Along with Reilly, those who were also charged included Vincent Giordano, 27, of Margate; Alfred Giordano, 32, of South Carolina; Joseph Saxon, 38, of the Virgin Islands; Aimee Allen, 26, of South Carolina; Genevieve Manzoni, 46, of Florida; and Eric K. Reiff, 40, of Williamsburg, Virginia.
All defendants were arrested Tuesday with the exception of Reiff, Alfred Giordano and Allen.
According to the Complaints unsealed on Tuesday:
In July 2010, law enforcement officers began investigating The Vacation Ownership Group, (a/k/a VO Group LLC). The investigation revealed that from at least March 2009 and to Sept. 1, 2011, the defendants, through the VO Group, participated in a fraudulent scheme in which representatives of the VO Group, often using false identities, telephoned owners of timeshare vacation properties purchased from Flagship Resort Development, Wyndham Vacation
Resorts Inc., and other timeshare developers.
They convinced the owners in some cases to submit money to the VO Group, purportedly to pay off the owners’ “mortgages” on their timeshares. The VO Group claimed that the timeshare owner could pay off the mortgage balance
at a substantially reduced amount – often by as much as 50 percent the amount of the owner’s original mortgage – by mailing payment to the VO Group at a Post Office box in Pleasantville.
The VO Group representatives also got timeshare owners to send the VO Group money purportedly to have timeshares cancelled or sold. After receipt of payments for the VO Group’s “service,” the conspirators caused those payments to be deposited into a bank account in the name of the VO Group.
Rather than paying off the timeshare owner’s mortgage, cancelling the owner’s timeshare, or selling the timeshare, the conspirators used the timeshare owner’s money for their personal use.
The investigation also revealed that in an attempt to cover up the scheme, the conspirators in most cases engaged in a “bait and switch” tactic by purchasing an additional timeshare in the victim’s name without the victim’s knowledge.
The victim purportedly had assented to the purchase based on documents the VO Group previously emailed to the victim for signature even though the victim had been led to believe he or she was simply paying off the original timeshare
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers interviewed
approximately 225 victims of the conspirators’ scheme identified to date. Many of the victims are elderly. Law enforcement has determined that the conspirators defrauded the victims of more than $2.4 million.