WILLIAMSBURG - A city man and an alleged female accomplice were charged in federal court last month with multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and identity theft - among other offenses - in what the FBI charged was a scheme to bilk timeshare companies out of thousands of dollars.
Keith D. Kosco, 56, of Willilamsburg, and Julie L. Duffield, of Montana, were indicted Nov. 20. The pair ran businesses were involved in the resale of timeshare units.
According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia in Newport News, Kosco owned various companies related to the timeshare/resort industry from 2005 through 2013, many of which were headquartered at 335 McLaws Circle in James City.
Two businesses in particular were important in the charges aganist Kosco. Elite Equity Transfers, which for a fee from the timeshare company, transferred ownership of timeshare units to a new owner, and Resort Solutions Inc., which did advertising and marketing work for clients looking to rent or sell their time shares.
In 2009, according to court documents, Kosco's companies began using fraudulent means, including stolen identifies and owners who did not exist to get timeshares from the resort companies to convert, charging a fee for the service.
Kosco's company allegedly created false deeds, bank accounts, email accounts and tax returns according to the indictment.
Prosecutors believe more than 1,000 timeshare units were acquired with stolen identities, costing timeshare companies more than $800,000.
Duffield's company, Professional Closing Company, handled the paperwork on the deals, according to the indictment.
"Beginning in at least 2009, and extending through 2013, a business practice of EET, as directed and engaged in by the defendants, their employees and others, was to use the names of stolen identities and straw owners as the new owners or grantees for the transferred timeshare units," according to the indictment. "The category of stolen identities consisted of individuals who did not consent and were not even aware that their names were being used to receive timeshare units.
"Straw owners were individuals who agreed to have timeshare units transferred into their names for a fee paid by EET, without fullknowledge of the consequences of such practice, but who were unable and unwilling to meet the obligations of timeshare ownership, particularly making payments on maintenance fees."
Kosco's trial is set for February.