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8 residents nabbed in time-share scheme

Local 6 News at 5:30p
Local 6 News at 5:30p

ORLANDO, Fla. – For 15 years Rita and John Carollo owned a time-share condo in Cancun.

They paid $17,000 for the chance to, as John puts it, "go there any time."

The resort known as Moon Palace has offices in Miami -- an important part of this story.

At 79, the retired air traffic controller and his wife figured it was time to sell.

They admit they hadn't been there in years and Rita Carollo's health wasn't the best.

That's when John Khan of the Orlando based Equity Management Group called out of the blue.

According to Carollo, Khan told him he had a buyer, sent them a contract that essentially confirmed Carollo owned the rights to the time share.

The contract called for a "processing fee" in the amount of $1,672 to be paid to Equity Management Group's bank account with BB&T bank, in Oviedo.

The document included a state license listing on SunBiz.com.

According to the contract the closing was supposed to take place on Feb. 7, 2014.

That sale was supposed to give Carollo $26,672. It never happened.

"Never saw a dime," Carollo says, "I waited for my check that he promised me I never got anything."

Carolla says there was another man identified as the underwriter. The man calling himself Michael Harper spoke to Carollo twice and never called again.

When Carollo called the Miami offices of Palace Moon he was told they never heard of Khan or Harper.

Carolla received a notice that he no longer had to pay the annual association fee of $100.

His time share and his cash were gone.

Federal investigators just announced an eight-count indictment naming 8 Florida residents in an alleged time share scheme. The "targeted" victims were 55 years of age and older according to the indictment.

The indictment states the victims were duped "into paying fees for the bogus sale of their property."

That's where the Corolla case is different. The sale was real, he just never received the money that was rightfully his.

If you believe you were the victim of criminal fraud committed by any of these defendants:

  • Max Joseph Chilson, 36, of Lake Mary, Florida.
  • Gunner Dell Jenkins, 36, of Orlando, Florida.
  • Antonio Enrique Martinez, 43, of Kissimmee, Florida.
  • Richard Mendez, 44, of Kissimmee, Florida.
  • Victor Sanchez, 45, of Hollywood, Florida.
  • Angelina Laboy Smith, 37, of Orlando, Florida.
  • Harold Eugene Smith, a/k/a H.E. Smith, 72, of Kissimmee, Florida.
  • Jonathon Edward Warren, 32, of Winter Garden, Florida

Go to www.postalinspectorsurvey.com/haffar and complete the questionnaire.