Las Vegas Telemarketers Arrested in Timeshare Resale Fraud

HOUSTON – James Assi Jariv, 62, of Las Vegas, Nev., has been charged along with seven others in a four-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire and mail fraud and money laundering, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Jariv was arrested yesterday along with Alexander Jariv, the 25-year-old son of James Jariv, Thresa Lloyd, 42, Varda Jariv, 72, and Jiwon Jariv, 33, all of Las Vegas, and Leon Avedikian, 43, of Los Angeles, Calif. Two others were taken into custody today, at which time the indictment, returned under seal Oct. 24, 2012, was unsealed.

They are Ronald Frank Muise, 50, and Michael Derek Muise, 27, both also of Las Vegas. Varda Jariv made her initial appearance yesterday. The remaining defendants are expected to make their initial appearances later today in either Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

The two conspiracy counts carry a maximum imprisonment of 20 years in federal prison but because the wire/mail fraud involved telemarketing that involved 10 or more victims over the age of 55, federal law provides for an additional 10-year sentence in addition to the sentence imposed for mail or wire fraud. “The IRS is committed to investigating those individuals who engage in corruption and money laundering,” said Bernard Butler, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. “Working with our law enforcement partners IRS-CI is committed to unraveling complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes. We will continue to aggressively pursue those who victimize the elderly.”

According to the indictment, the Jarivs and other co-conspirators used a number of different named companies to conduct their telemarketing timeshare resale scheme targeting timeshare owners throughout the United States and Canada. The timeshare owners were allegedly solicited to pay advance fees in exchange for The Jariv Companies providing willing buyers for their timeshare properties or points, when in fact, the defendants did not have buyers for the timeshare owners’ interests and did not market or sell the property. the Jariv companies were registered in various states, including Texas, Nevada, California, Illinois and Washington and conducted business at multiple addresses in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, according to court records.

The defendants allegedly used mailing addresses or “virtual office suites” in Las Vegas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle for receiving monies from timeshare owners via U.S. Mail or commercial interstate carriers like Fed Ex, all the while maintaining call center offices in Las Vegas, Houston, Chicago, and the greater Los Angeles-area from which the defendants, using telephones and email, contacted and communicated with timeshare owners, in an alleged scheme to defraud the timeshare owners of money. The defendants and their employees falsely represented that they had buyers for the timeshare owners interests (either timeshare weeks or points) and solicited fees, ranging from hundreds of dollars to several thousand dollars from each timeshare owner, the indictment indicates.

The defendants allegedly falsely represented that the fees were fully refundable at closing and were used to secure the owners’ place in an acquisition involving corporate buyers, as well as to pay for legal expenses such as title searches, estoppel letters and closing costs. The indictment alleges closings were not scheduled, purported sales did not occur and no payments were made to timeshare owners for the sale of their property, nor have there been payments by corporations (or other buyers) to the Jariv companies for the purchase of timeshare properties. The defendants and employees of the Jariv companies did not devote their resources to marketing the timeshare owners’ properties and simply pocketed the advanced fees paid by the timeshare owners with a sizeable percentage of the money used to pay telemarketers, according to the indictment.

The balance of advance fees was allegedly kept by Jariv and his family members to be deposited into bank accounts controlled by them and frequently transferred to personal bank accounts or other unrelated corporate bank accounts. According to the indictment, between Feb. 1, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2012, the defendants would and did victimize approximately 1000 victims living in Canada and throughout the United States including the Southern District of Texas, and deposited into eight bank accounts approximately $6,925,137.04 in fraudulently obtained timeshare owner funds. Approximately $5,945,433.04 in victim funds were retained by, and subsequently transferred into, other accounts controlled by the defendants. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Secret Service and IRS-CI with assistance by the FBI – Las Vegas field office and the San Francisco office of the Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martha Minnis and Katherine Haden are prosecuting the case. ###

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