This week, it was announced that a former resident of Frederick County, Virginia had been sentenced to prison on wire fraud conspiracy charges. 58-year-old Michael Dean Kent of Franklin, North Carolina was sentenced to 63 months in prison. He will also be required to serve three years of supervised release and pay $557,542.50 in restitution. The defendant previously pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Kent admitted that he and co-conspirators targeted hundreds of victims across the country who owned interest in timeshare properties between 2014 and 2017. Kent and the others made false representations by phone and email to convince the victims to sign property transfer contracts and send money under false pretenses for property sales that would never take place. Kent admitted that he and the others represented that they were employed at two companies, The Holiday Property Group LLC and Vacation Properties by Owners LLC.
The defendant incorporated both entities and served as the principal for both. Kent and his co-conspirators introduced the victim to another co-conspirator who posed as the buyer. Eventually, Kent and his co-conspirators would contact the victim and inform them that they needed to send a fee to the company to cover costs associated with the sale. Kent fraudulently represented that the money would be held in escrow and would be refundable at any time.
In reality, the money was deposited into bank accounts that Kent used to pay his own personal expenses and to continue the scheme. Throughout the scheme, Kent and his co-conspirators caused losses of more than $550,000 from the victims. Additional details have been made available here.