PAISLEY – A Paisley man and woman were arrested after an investigation uncovered an elaborate timeshare scheme that defrauded numerous elderly people in the United States and Canada.
According to arrest reports, 26-year-old Joseph Daniel McGowen and 23-year-old Lacey Leann Bagley were both arrested and charged with multiple felony counts as a result of an elaborate timeshare scheme that began in 2014.
The investigation, led by Daniel Shaw, an investigator with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services uncovered the scheme after receiving a complaint from Margaret Misfeldt, who is identified as one of the victims stating that she had been deceived into paying over $15,000 by McGowen and Bagley.
According to the report, McGowen and Bagley operated their scheme under the registered name American Processing & Financial Solutions LLC where they would contact timeshare owners and use a ruse stating they had buyers interested in buying their timeshares and required a fee to complete the sale.
During the investigation, Shaw discovered the business name was registered by McGowen on July 15, 2014. Shaw was also able to acquire the bank records from a bank account which was opened under the business name on July 16, 2014.
Both Bagley and McGowen were listed as cardholders on the account. Shaw’s investigation revealed a total of $100,915 was deposited into the account.
“All money deposited into the account was related to a scheme to defraud timeshare property owners, and there is no source of legitimate money being deposited into the account,” shaw wrote in his statement.
One victim, 73-year-old California resident, Sharon Merritt, stated that she was contacted by American Processing and Financial Solutions LLC and told that they had a buyer lined up for her timeshare located in Orlando. Merritt also told Shaw that the company required her to pay a $1,650 fee to complete the transaction for the sale on July 1, 2014.
After sending the payment, Merritt was contacted again and informed an additional fee of $2,750 was required.
After sending the second payment, Merritt stated that McGowen and Bagley ignored numerous calls and no sale was ever made.
Shaw also spoke with 79-year-old Wisconsin resident, Marceda Strasburg, and 79-year-old Canadian resident, Margaret Misfeldt who both had similar stories.
Strasburg stated that she received a call requiring a fee of $3,210 to complete a sale of her timeshare and never heard back after sending the payment.
Misfeldt was targeted multiple times for a total amount of $15,694. According to Misfeldt, she received the same call on August 1, 2014, about her timeshare and was told she needed to send a payment of $4,560. She stated she was contacted three more times and each time was asked for another fee.
After the investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Bagley and McGowen.
McGowen was arrested on October 30, 2016, and Bagley was arrested on November 1, 2016.
Both were charged with one felony count of organized scheme to defraud, one felony count of grand theft, three felony counts of unlawful real estate activity, three felony counts of unlawful use of a two-way device (telephone), and three felony counts of unlawful commercial telephone solicitation.
Bagley and McGowen were both transported to the Lake County Jail in lieu of a $43,000 bond.
Bagley was released on November 3 after posting her bond and is scheduled to appear before a judge on November 28, 2016.
McGowen is still in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the same date.