Temporary Injunction and Asset Freeze Obtained Against Timeshare Company
Tallahassee, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office obtained a temporary injunction and asset freeze against World Mark Wholesale and Trade, LLC for alleged unfair and deceptive business practices. World Mark and owners, Berthony Vernet and Joseph A. Taylor, allegedly engaged in a systematic scheme to defraud owners of timeshares throughout Florida and nationwide. According to consumers’ complaints, World Mark made unsolicited telephone calls claiming to have a ready buyer willing to purchase the consumers’ timeshare at an inflated price. World Mark allegedly used fake names or, in some cases, names of licensed real estate agents to make claims sound legitimate. World Mark also sent consumers a purchase agreement signed by a fictitious buyer to make the sale seem imminent and requested up-front fees ranging from $1,600 to $4,100 for a title search or Florida taxes. Timeshare owners who paid these fees were allegedly contacted again and required to pay additional fees for capital gains taxes or luxury taxes. After consumers paid all of the requested fees and taxes, no sale occurred and World Mark was unreachable. The temporary injunction bars World Mark Wholesale and Trade, its related corporations and owners from engaging in the timeshare scheme. The Attorney General’s Office is seeking a permanent injunction against the company, civil penalties, restitution and costs and fees. The temporary injunction and asset freeze pertains to the following companies and individuals:
· Berthony Vernet;· Joseph A. Taylor;· World Processing and Title of California Properties, Inc.;· Worldmark Title Deed and Transfer; and· World Mark Wholesale and Trade, LLC.
Since 2011, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has resolved 37 timeshare resale cases, amounting to more than $9.7 million in agreed upon restitution. As a result of enforcement actions taken since 2011 and with the passage of the Timeshare Resale Accountability Act, the number of timeshare-related complaints has declined by more than 80 percent, from 9,737 in 2011 to 1,554 in 2014.