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State, local authorities investigate timeshare scam

Search warrant: consumers scammed out of hundreds of dollars

March 19, 2014

State and local law enforcement officials are investigating whether a company that purports to sell time shares is in fact defrauding consumers out of hundreds of dollars.

According to a search warrant unsealed last week, a legal representative for Associated Banc-Corp first contacted the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) about the company last September.

An attorney said that someone was conducting "fraudulent real estate transactions" using the name Associated Commercial Finance Inc. The company was in no way connected to Associated Bank, but nonetheless consumers were filing complaints against the bank with the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Associated Commercial Finance used a logo that was similar to one used by Associated Bank and listed as its address a bank branch on Bluemound Road in Brookfield, the affidavit states.

One Alabama man said in a complaint filed with his state's consumer protection agency that he had been contacted by a representative from Associated Commercial Finance in August 2012, the affidavit states. He agreed to purchase a timeshare from the company and wired $1,299 to a Western Union account in Florida to pay for "closing costs."

After paying the closing costs, he never heard back from the company, according to the affidavit.

A North Carolina man was also allegedly a victim of the scam, according to the affidavit.

The search warrant requests information, including names and addresses, connected to the email account associatedcommercialfinanceinc@gmail.com.

The DCI requested that the search warrant be sealed to prevent potential suspects from tampering with evidence or fleeing.

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