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    Former Long Beach man gets 10-year sentence for running a timeshare-exit scam
    • January 23, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — A former Long Beach resident was sentenced Monday to 121 months — about 10 years — in federal prison for leading a telemarketing scheme in which boiler room tactics were used to scam dozens of timeshare owners out of more than $5 million by giving them false promises of financial relief.

    Michael McDonagh, 43, who currently lives in Massachusetts, was sentenced in downtown Los Angeles by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who also ordered him to pay $5.46 million in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    McDonagh pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud.

    McDonagh founded and/or controlled several telemarketing companies — Irvine-based Global Transfer Inc., Costa Mesa-based Global Transfer SoCal Inc., Santa Ana-based Nationwide Transfer Inc. and Signal Hill-based Nationwide Exit Specialist Inc. — that purported to offer timeshare relief. According to prosecutors, once one telemarketing company became inundated with consumer complaints, McDonagh would form a new telemarketing company to perpetuate the fraud.

    From 2015 to May 2019, “openers” who worked for McDonagh contacted timeshare owners and offered to help them terminate their timeshare interest for a fixed fee. If the timeshare owner expressed interest in the services, the call was transferred to a “closer” who convinced victims to sign contracts, prosecutors said.

    Within weeks of the victim paying the fee, they were contacted and told a series of lies to induce them to pay more money, prosecutors said. Some victims were falsely told that they would obtain — for an additional fee — a large settlement payment based on purported litigation against the timeshare company.

    McDonagh and his co-schemers also made false promises of securing — for even more money — a large “restitution” payment from the timeshare company, claiming the company had rented out the victim’s timeshare property without the victim’s permission.

    More than $5 million in losses were caused by McDonagh or his co- conspirators, prosecutors said.

    The other four defendants charged with along with McDonagh also have pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and await sentencing.

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    ​ Orange County Register