Boulder DA: Two men indicted in timeshare transfer scheme

Two men have been indicted by a Boulder County grand jury in what prosecutors say was a timeshare scheme that targeted elderly people across the U.S. over the past two years.

Kristopher Chavez was indicted on two counts of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act as well as 47 other counts that include theft of various amounts and criminal impersonation and was taken into custody Wednesday. A warrant has been issued for a co-defendant, Timothy Hatcher, though his indictment remains under seal.

The two COCCA violations — one for racketeering the other for conspiracy — are both Class 2 felonies punishable by eight to 24 years in prison.

Chavez is currently in custody on $100,000 bond and is scheduled for an arraignment Jan. 27.

According to Chavez’s indictment, the two men and “other persons unknown” to the grand jury operated a timeshare fraud scheme from 2014 through September 2016.

Investigators said that Hatcher would contact timeshare owners across the U.S. — most of them elderly — and invite them to a seminar at a local hotel where he would pitch a proposal wherein the owners would pay a one-time fee to transfer ownership of their timeshare.

Hatcher claimed to be an account manager with a company called Immediate Acquisitions/Timeshare Transfers, or Properties Exchange, with headquarters in Boulder.

Once the payment was made, the owners would be referred to Chavez — operating under the alias Chris Culhane — to transfer the title out of their name as well as sign paperwork appointing a third party as the “attorney-in-fact” for the transfer.

But according to the indictment, the owners later discovered that their timeshares had not been legitimately transferred and that they were still liable for homeowners association and maintenance fees. Because they had named a third party as the attorney for the transfer, many of these owners never received the notifications that they owed payments.

A search of Chavez’s Boulder home revealed a computer on which investigators found thousands of emails he sent under the Culhane alias to timeshare owners.

According to Chavez’s indictment, most of the theft amounts range from $500 to $2,000, though there is one charge for theft of $5,000 to $20,000.

Officials are concerned that there may be more potential victims who have not come forward. Anyone who may have been a victim is asked to call Boulder Police Detective Traci Cravitz at 303-441-3345.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars

Source article: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_30663755/boulder-da-two-men-indicted-timeshare-transfer-scheme 

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