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Federal prosecutors: South Jersey businessman gets 27-year prison term for timeshare scheme

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CAMDEN, New Jersey — Federal prosecutors say a southern New Jersey man is headed to prison for his role in a $3 million timeshare mortgage fraud scheme

Adam Lacerda received a 27-year sentence this week. He also will have to serve three years of supervised release once he's freed from prison.

Prosecutors say the 31-year-old Egg Harbor Township man was involved in a conspiracy to scam timeshare owners by offering phony consulting services through the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC. He was convicted in September 2013 of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, nine counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

Lacerda founded the company and served as its president and CEO, authorities said.

At his trial, prosecutors said Lacerda devised fraudulent sales pitches in which he instructed the company's sales force to lie that the firm worked with banks holding customers' loans and could cancel their timeshares and get their money bank. More than a dozen victims testified during the trial that they lost tens of thousands of dollars in the scheme.

Lacerda's 35-year-old wife, Ashley, and two others were also convicted in the case. They all await sentencing.

The 14 victims who testified at trial — including business executives, veterans, senior citizens, a lawyer and a professor — were cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars by the defendants' sophisticated scheme, according to prosecutors.

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