The American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the timeshare industry, and ARDA Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA‐ROC), have joined forces to halt the wrongdoing of those misleading timeshare owners into forking out hefty amounts of money for illusive timeshare exit services through deceitful means.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee banished Judson Wheeler Phillips, attorney, founder of the Castle Law Group, on countless charges involving consumer fraud complaints. Castle Law Group has terminated business operations following federal lawsuits taken by developers against Castle Law Group and those associated with the firm.
In the case of Phillips’, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Phillips after reviewing over 17 cases of client’s complaints against him, all were allegations of fraud, highlighting a pattern and practice of misconduct.
The Tennessee Supreme Court concluded that Phillips “poses a threat of substantial harm to the public.” All the complaints were of allegations that Phillips and his business partners misled, mis-sold and deceived consumers by taking excessive amounts of money from timeshare owners for supposed timeshare exit services based upon fraudulent and misleading representations.
“The constant pressure that our member companies, owners and federal and state agencies are putting on disreputable timeshare exit companies has again produced a positive result for the consumer,” said Robert Clements, ARDA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Seeing two significant actions against these companies sends a very clear message to others trying to take advantage of timeshare owners: You won’t get away with it.” Clements continued, “If you feel you have been unfairly taken advantage of or defrauded by a timeshare exit company, please contact your state Attorney General, local law enforcement or the ARDA‐ROC Consumer Support Team at 1‐855‐939‐1515.”
“A top priority for our industry and owners, and for law enforcement and other agencies, is to protect consumers from dishonest individuals or companies trying to take advantage of them,” said ARDA‐ROC Chairman Ken McKelvey. “These actions send a strong signal to criminals that fraud and deceptive activities will not be tolerated by our industry and it tells consumers that we take the actions of these individuals very seriously.”
Wyndham Destinations one of the largest timeshare companies prosecuted against American Consumer Credit (ACC), in the pursuit of ACC, its principal, Dana Micaleff and its attorney, Michael Saracco, Esq. which resulted in ACC filing bankruptcy on September 7, 2018.
The ACC case is based on various legal theories, some of which are founded in federal law, known as the “Lanham Act.” The case remains pending against Micaleff, individually, and Saracco, individually, although an automatic stay has been issued relative to ACC in the U.S. District Court action as a result of the bankruptcy filing. That, however, has not deterred the prosecution of the case. As of today, there is a motion pending against Micaleff and Saracco to punish them for, among other things, failing to appear for a deposition.
“We are committed to protecting our owners to ensure they aren’t taken advantage of,” said Michael Brown, President and CEO of Wyndham Destinations. “Through our partnership with ARDA, ARDA‐ROC and regulatory and enforcement agencies, we support consumer protection legislation and law enforcement’s efforts in cases like these. We encourage our owners to reach out to us or ARDA for participation in legitimate available programs in order to avoid becoming victims of timeshare exit company scams.”
In addition, back in 2016, Diamond Resorts applied a litigation strategy in pursuit of a third-party exit company for their immoral and criminal conduct in an effort to protect the interest of their members who were promised outcomes that could not be legally accomplished. In tandem, Diamond Resorts also pursued those unethical law firms, such as Castle Law Group, which were assisting these timeshares exit companies in their illegal business practices. To date, these efforts concluded in approximately 12 lawsuits prosecuted by Diamond Resorts throughout the country, six of which have already resulted in broad injunctions against the defendants, while the others remain pending.
Bud Bennington, Senior litigation counsel, of the law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP, counsel for Diamond Resorts in the Castle Law Group litigation in the U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, and, counsel for Wyndham Destinations in the ACC matter pending in the U.S. District Court, for the Southern District of Florida, commented that “the various timeshare companies, their law firms, ARDA and ARDA‐ROC have undertaken a relentless effort to arrest the nefarious and unlawful conduct of the multiple timeshare exit companies around the world and the unethical lawyers that assist them in the perpetration of their deceptive practices.
“ARDA remains in pursuit and supports appropriate timeshare resale and transfer legislations in an effort to protect owners against fraudulent timeshare schemes.
Here at ABC Lawyers we feel timeshare owners should not have to fight for their rights against timeshare. If you are looking to exit your timeshare contract, without dealing with it yourself. Contract our services today and let us help you.
See our recent blog post regarding timeshare exits.