An undocumented worker entered a pawn shop in Boca Raton, Florida, not long ago to pawn a gold chain in order to raise money for his nearby gasoline station.
It was his misfortune that on that particular day Francisco Aletto Sr., 60, was behind the counter. Instead of accepting the gold chain as collateral for a small loan, Aletto loaned the worker $10,000 and charged him weekly interest of $375, which works out to an annual interest rate of 180 percent.
The worker made several weekly payments. Aletto then introduced him to some of his friends who loaned the victim an additional $30,000. Over the next 13 months, the victim paid more than $57,000 in interest and surrendered to Aletto a 2004 Dodge Ram truck.
When the victim was unable to continue paying, Aletto and his friends threatened to kill him. A confidential source told authorities what was going on. The victim was put under police protection. Aletto was arrested, tried and convicted, and sentenced to 24 months in prison. Four of Aletto’s accomplices have pleaded guilty and also have been sentenced for making and collecting extortionate extensions of credit.
Bogus firm targeted timeshare owners
If you happen to own a timeshare and get a call from Mountain State Resales LLC, hang up the phone immediately.
Mountain State of South Charleston, West Virginia, was allegedly in the business of brokering timeshare sales. David Andrew Glynn and others would contact timeshare owners and tell them that Mountain State had buyers for their timeshares. All they had to do was send in the proper fees and expenses to complete the sale. The whole thing was bogus. There were no buyers. Guess who kept the money.
Glynn also contacted timeshare owners who had been victims of earlier fraud schemes and pretended to be an agent with Internal Revenue Recovery Associates and affiliated with the U.S. government. Glynn represented that he was investigating timeshare fraud schemes and needed the victims of such schemes to send in money to assist with recovery efforts.
It was another scam from start to finish. Glynn got two and a half years in prison for fraud and was ordered to pay $97,254.42 in restitution.