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Timeshare Exit Company’s $500M Scam

Timeshare Exit Company's $500M Scam

Timeshare owners have long been targets of various scams. A recent alarming incident highlights a Florida telemarketer’s deceptive tactics in the timeshare exit company’s $500M scam. This article dives into the details of this case, focusing on the fraudulent FTC letter used to mislead numerous owners into paying upfront fees for alleged recovery and exit services.

timeshare telemarketing scam calling owners. The Florida Man and His Nationwide Telemarketing Ventures

William O’Hanlon, also known by aliases “Patrick Burns” and “William Burns,” operated a telemarketing business named Williams Andrews Burns LLC (WAB). This business offered timeshare exit services among others to timeshare owners, asking for upfront fees in return. However, after facing charges of wire fraud and conspiracy, O’Hanlon was released on bail with specific conditions. One of these conditions was that he should not commit another crime, federal, state, or local.

O’Hanlon’s RJD Pitch: Guarantees and Upfront Fees

Despite these conditions, O’Hanlon started another telemarketing venture, Ryan James & Daniels Corp. (RJD), which also targeted timeshare owners with similar offers in exchange for upfront fees. The defendants promoted a “Money Back Guarantee,” assuring customers that there was almost no risk in using their services. They promised customers significant rental income for every week WAB rented their timeshare. If WAB didn’t come through, they vowed to give customers their money back within 180 days.

Timeshare Exit Company's $500M ScamThe Deceptive FTC Scam Recovery Letter

While on bail, O’Hanlon allegedly sent out mass letters to timeshare owners. These letters informed recipients that they were potential victims of timeshare fraud. The letters offered to collect restitution money for these supposed victims, citing a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The letters claimed that the FTC had amassed $500 million to be refunded to victims of timeshare fraud. However, there was a catch: the lawsuit mentioned in the letters was over two decades old, and the FTC had not collected any funds for timeshare victims from that suit.

Court orders timeshare exit companies to shut down. The Legal Aftermath

Upon review, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Pascal found probable cause to believe that O’Hanlon had committed mail and wire fraud through RJD while on pretrial release. She stated that the letters were clearly intended to defraud individuals.

On August 7, 2023, Judge Pascal ordered O’Hanlon to shut down operations for multiple entities: Ryan James & Daniels Corp., RJD Collect Inc., RJD Investments Inc., RJD Recovery Group Inc., RJD Corp. Fraud Collectors Timeshare Exit, Williams & Burns Inc., Harold O’Hanlon Inc., Resort BNB Inc., and Next Step Sober House Inc., all collectively referred to as RJD. She also determined that O’Hanlon had unauthorized access to others’ personal identifying information (PII), which was a breach of his bail conditions.

Avoiding Timeshare Exit Scams

Timeshares can be tricky, and there are some companies out there trying to fool people with fake promises. One big scam that had been going around involved this company using an old lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to trick timeshare owners. They say the FTC has money to give back to people, but it’s not true! If you’re concerned about being scammed by a timeshare exit company,

Look Up the Company with the FTC: The FTC keeps track of scams and can tell you if the company is using fake info about them. Check the BBB: The Better Business Bureau can show you if other people have had problems with the company. Talk to Your State’s Attorney General: They can help if a company in your state is violating state consumer protection laws.

Always be cautious: If an offer seems unrealistically good, especially if they mention the FTC, it’s essential to double-check the details. Keep reading for some handy tips for timeshare owners in the next section.

consumer protection tips to avoid timeshare scamsTips for Timeshare Owners:

  1. Research the Company: Before engaging with any timeshare exit company, do thorough research. Look for reviews, ratings, and any complaints lodged against them.
  2. Avoid Upfront Fees: Many scams will ask for fees upfront. Genuine companies will typically have a clear fee structure and won’t demand large sums before providing services.
  3. Verify Claims: If a company mentions affiliations with larger organizations or cites legal documents, take the time to verify these claims independently.
  4. Ask for References: A reputable company should be able to provide references or testimonials from satisfied customers.
  5. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Always trust your gut feeling and seek a second opinion if unsure.

Avoiding Money Back Guarantee ScamsTimeshare Exits: Distinguishing Scams from Genuine Assistance

The world of timeshare exits is riddled with potential pitfalls, and the secondary market is no exception. Scammers employ intricate tactics, preying on the uninformed and those desperate to exit their timeshares.

As consumers, our best defense is knowledge and vigilance. It’s imperative to scrutinize any claims, particularly those demanding upfront payments or referencing dubious legal precedents.

Why Licensed Timeshare Attorneys Are Safer Than Telemarketing Exit Services: A Warning

If you’re thinking about getting out of a timeshare, you’ve got some options—but not all options are created equal. Although not every way out is a scam, the route you pick could make or break your exit strategy. Here’s why going with a licensed timeshare attorney is way better and safer than trusting a telemarketing service.

Expertise Matters: Lawyers Know Timeshare Laws Inside and Out

Firstly, the level of expertise you’ll get from a licensed timeshare attorney is leaps and bounds ahead of what a telemarketing service can offer. These lawyers have spent years studying the law and they know the ins and outs of timeshare contracts. This isn’t just random information; it’s specialized knowledge that can really help you navigate the complexities of your situation. On the other hand, the folks at a telemarketing service often only have a basic grasp of what’s going on, legally speaking.

Ethical Duty: Attorneys Are On Your Side, Legally and Ethically

Another big plus of hiring a licensed attorney is that they have a legal and ethical duty to look out for your best interests. They can’t just push you to make a decision that benefits them. They have to provide you with advice that’s genuinely aimed at helping you. Telemarketing services? Not so much. Their main goal is usually to get you to agree to something quickly so they can earn their commission, which isn’t necessarily going to be the best thing for you.

No High-Pressure Sales Tactics: An Attorney Gives You Room to Think

Telemarketing services are known for using high-pressure tactics to get you to make quick decisions. This is risky because you might agree to something without fully understanding what you’re getting into. With a licensed attorney, you’re more likely to have a calm, thoughtful conversation where you can weigh your options without feeling rushed.

Legal Backup: An Attorney Can Actually Represent You

Lastly, if things go sideways and you end up in a legal mess, a licensed attorney can actually represent you in court. They can file all the necessary paperwork and stand up for you in a way that a telemarketing service just can’t. If you go the telemarketing route, you’re pretty much on your own if things get complicated.

In the end, always approach timeshare exit offers with a healthy dose of skepticism. If an offer seems too advantageous or comes with high-pressure sales tactics, it’s a red flag. Protect your investments and ensure your exit strategy is legitimate and in your best interest.


Led by timeshare attorneys J. Andrew Meyer and Michael D. Finn with over 75 years of combined legal experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in Timeshare Law. If you feel you have a timeshare related dispute, contact us for a free consultation to protect your consumer rights. Follow us on Twitter to learn more about: Timeshare Exit Company’s $500M Scam

Disclosure: This article is for information purposes and is not intended as legal advice. Always consult a legal professional for any timeshare related matter.

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