Williamsburg attorney accused in $1.3 million timeshare scheme to face trial in September

amayfield@vagazette.com

The trial against a Williamsburg attorney accused in a $1.3 million timeshare scheme is set for September, according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Deborah M. Wagner, the 43-year-old co-owner of Wagner & Hyman on Jamestown Road, is charged with fraud, four counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity fraud in connection with a timeshare scheme that targeted resorts and timeshare owners from 2009 to 2013, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Wagner faces up to 22 years in prison for the crimes, the news release states.

Wagner is accused of keeping transfer fees after mailing and wiring timeshare transfers from the original owners to stolen identities and unnamed owners, also known as straw owners, according to court documents.

The original owners were told they were no longer obligated to the timeshares after the transfers were complete, even though the straw owners were people who did not intend on taking on the financial or legal responsibilities of owning and maintaining the timeshares, court documents state.

Maintenance fees and taxes went unpaid on more than 1,000 timeshares, costing the resorts hundreds of thousands of dollars and causing significant credit impacts on the stolen identities and straw owners, according to the news release.

Many timeshares also defaulted or went into foreclosure, court documents state.

Wagner, who allegedly got involved in the scheme in 2011, was arrested on Oct. 16, 2015, several months after three others indicted in the scheme pleaded guilty, court documents state.

Brendan Hawkins, owner of timeshare transfer company GoodBye Timeshares, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $500,000 for his involvement in the scheme, the news release states.

Julie Duffield, operator of third party closing company Professional Closing Company, was sentenced to 26 months in prison. Keith Kosco, owner of several timeshare businesses, was sentenced to six years and two months in prison, the news release states.

Duffield and Kosco were ordered to jointly pay $740,000 in restitution, according to the news release.

Wagner's trial was continued from April 12 to Sept. 13 because her defense attorney, Andrew Anthony Protogyrou, is campaigning to become mayor of Norfolk and needed more time to review file data evidence provided by the government, court documents state.

Mayfield can be reached at 757-298-5828.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
64°