St. Petersburg Man Goes to Federal Prison for Telemarketing Scam
He was also ordered to pay more than $2 million to his victims.
TAMPA – A St. Petersburg man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a telemarketing scheme that targeted people who wanted to sell their timeshares or other property, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said.
Gary Kinard, 40, of St. Petersburg, was sentenced to seven years and 11 months in federal prison for his role in a telemarketing scheme. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment of $75,000, the proceeds of the wire fraud conspiracy. In addition, Kinard was directed to pay a total of $2,244,735.66 to 43 identified victims of the scheme.
According to court records, from 2016 through at least 2018, Kinard conspired with others to take money from victims throughout the U.S. who wanted to sell their timeshare properties or other parcels of land. Kinard and others placed telephone calls to these victims impersonating real estate professionals.They misled the timeshare owners to believe the conspirators had identified buyers for the victims’ timeshares and other properties.The conspirators further advised the victims that the timeshare and property sales could be consummated if the victims made one or more advanced payments to the conspirators for various fees purportedly associated with the sales, such as closing costs, courier services, title searches, transfer fees, and legal fees.
Once the victims agreed to pay the bogus advance fees, the conspirators directed the victims to send funds via wire transfers to one of the conspirators.That co-conspirator then withdrew the fraud proceeds and shared them with the others, based on each conspirator’s role in the fraudulent transaction. The conspirators often repeatedly re-contacted their victims and fraudulently advised them that additional fees were needed in order to complete the sales, and they continued to dupe the victims into sending bogus advance fees until the victims either ran out of money or became aware of the scam.
After the victims depleted their assets or recognized that they had been defrauded, Kinard and other conspirators evolved the scheme. In this second stage, Kinard and/or other conspirators re-contacted their victims via email and, now posing as helpful attorneys, told the victims that they had been defrauded in a timeshare scam. They then offered to “represent” the victims against the “first attorneys,” and to obtain settlements on their behalves. Once Kinard had regained the trust of the timeshare victims, he directed the victims to forward additional bogus fees purportedly associated with the cost of litigation, settlement expenses, and other related expenses. Some victims paid the conspirators hundreds of thousands of dollars for the purported “litigation.” Over the course of the conspiracy, many victims lost their retirement savings and their homes. (For related stories, click here and click here.)
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the St. Petersburg Police Department, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
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