Woman gets 14 years for role in telemarketing scheme

News-DemocratNovember 20, 2013 

An Orlando, Fla., woman has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for her role in a nationwide telemarketing scheme.

The scheme defrauded people in the U.S. and Canada, including people living in seven counties in the Southern District of Illinois, according to Stephen R. Wigginton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Kathryn G. Garten, 52, was sentenced Tuesday. She was convicted by a jury in August of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Garten was a telemarketer who worked for National Solutions and related companies located in Orlando, Florida. She and other telemarketers made cold calls to timeshare owners and then falsely represented that their company had actual buyers for the owners' timeshare property. The company solicited advanced fees of up to several thousand dollars from each victim in purported closing costs that were to be refunded to the owner at closing.

From 2007 to 2011, more than 2,500 timeshare owners were scammed out of more than $6 million.

"Ms. Garten came to her trial driving a new, expensive, luxury automobile. She left after her trial in chains. Yesterday she appeared in an orange prison uniform and left for her sentence in a Marshal's van." observed United States Attorney Wigginton. "The lesson is simple - do not try to defraud innocent victims in order to line your pockets. Scammers beware - my office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Postal Inspection Service will not tolerate fraud on our citizens."

As part of her sentence, Garten was also ordered to pay $909,278 in restitution to the identifiable victims of the crime. When she completes her prison sentence, she will remain on supervised release for five years.

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