Another day and another RV scam to report.
In a recent post, I reported on an Internet scam that targets would-be RV buyers.
In today’s post the owner/operator of an RV dealership was sentenced to a jail term for defraud in an elaborate RV lease-ownership scam.
A Court of Queen’s Bench Justice sentenced Arnold Donszelmann to seven years in prison for defrauding 36 Albertans in a scam dating back a number of years.
Donszelmann, who used to own and operate Leisure RV in Millet, Alberta, sold dozens of RVs to people as part of an elaborate scheme, according to an Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) news release.
Many customers entered his so-called management program where he promised to lease the owners’ RVs out for them and pay the owners part of the proceeds as an investment of sorts.
The problem was, Donszelmann did not have clear ownership of the RVs meaning he did not have the right to sell them. However, many purchasers got the payments they expected so the scam carried on for years without them realizing they were actually victims, not owners.
Eventually the payments were late or infrequent. Many of the owners got tired of hearing excuses as to why they could not see or access their RVs. Suspicions grew, AMVIC was alerted and launched an investigation and canceled Donszelmann’s business license in 2007.
AMVIC also charged Donszelmann with fraud in 2012.
On April 26th of this year, an 11-person jury convicted Donszelmann of 31 counts of fraud over $5,000 under Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.
“Our investigators worked long and hard to bring Donszelmann to justice,” Bachinski said.
In addition to seven years in prison, Donszelmann has been ordered to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution to the victims.
“He has hurt a lot people who have lost significant amounts of money. I hope the victims will be able to recoup at least some of their financial losses,” Bachinski said.
“AMVIC, as the Regulator for the RV industry, works to protect Albertans. I can assure you we will continue to put a stop to any other scammer who tries to set-up shop here.”
Where there are sales, there are scam artists.