NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Mexican citizen convicted in a $10 million telemarketing scam was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison by a federal judge.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans said the sentence was handed down Tuesday in the case of Jesus Adrian Ledesma Bernal, 32.
Bernal had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Authorities said he was part of a conspiracy to bilk owners of time-share properties. The owners were contacted and told there were buyers for their properties and were charged money to facilitate the sale.
“There were no interested buyers, the closings did not occur, and the timeshares were not resold,” Tuesday's news release said. “Instead, the conspirators simply pocketed the advanced fees.”
Prosecutors said the estimated total loss was at least $10 million.
For his part in the scheme, Bernal must pay $127,000 in restitution and will be subject to deportation when he finishes his sentence. Court records show one other suspect has entered a guilty plea in the case and is due for sentencing in September, while four others face a scheduled November trial. The U.S. Attorney's news release said an investigation of the scheme is ongoing.