A federal jury convicted an Egg Harbor Township couple and an Absecon man Thursday for their part in a $3 million conspiracy to scam timeshare customers.
The verdict was reached after two days of deliberation following a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in federal court in Camden.
Adam Lacerda, 28, and Ashley Lacerda, 32, both of Egg Harbor Township, Ian Resnick, 37, of Abescon, and Genevieve Manzoni, 46, of Lake Worth, Fla., were convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.
Adam Lacerda was also convicted of nine counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud, Ashley Lacerda was convicted of one count of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud, and Resnick was convicted of three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Manzoni was also convicted of one count of mail fraud.
Each count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12 for Resnick and Manzoni and Dec. 13 for the Lacerdas.
A fifth defendant, Joseph Diventi, 32, of Somers Point, was acquitted of the two counts with which he was charged, Fishman’s office stated.
So far, 13 others have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
U.S. attorneys stated that the defendants “schemed to defraud hundreds of timeshare owners by offering fraudulent consulting services through their company, the Vacation Ownership Group (now VO Financial).”
Adam Lacerda, the company founder, president and chief executive officer, “devised the company’s fraudulent sales pitches. He directed his sales force to tell numerous lies to VO customers, including that VO worked with the banks holding the customers’ loans, would use money sent by customers to pay off the customers’ loans on their timeshares, and could cancel customers’ timeshares with money back. His wife, the company vice president and chief operating officer, sent fraudulent contracts to customers and managed the office.”
Resnick, a convicted bank robber, started as a salesman but became Adam Lacerda’s “enforcer,” with the title “director of compliance.”
The 14 victims who testified, including “business executives, veterans, senior citizens, a lawyer and a professor,” Fishman’s office stated, were defrauded out of a total of tens of thousands of dollars.
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