LARGO — Two Largo timeshare marketing companies are being investigated by the state attorney general.
B Brothers Marketing Firm and D&D Vacations Inc. have been scamming timeshare property owners in Florida, according to motions filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court in March.
The state began investigating the companies after receiving 130 complaints against the two businesses, which both operate under various names. The Attorney General's Office sought subpoenas to get at the bottom of the complaints.
According to the Attorney General's Office, representatives from the companies tell timeshare owners that they have "a ready buyer" for the property and ask for an upfront fee — often between $499 and $1,500 — to cover advertising costs.
"Once the fee is paid, the purchase never happens," summaries of both investigations said.
The two motions — filed the same day — appear to be connected, though a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said the two "are not related at this time."
In regard to D&D Vacations, also operating under the names United States Property Services and Vacation Property Services, the investigation summary said the New Mexico Attorney General has complained to Florida officials that the company "is also illegally telemarketing under another name to owners of real property" in that state.
A February article in a New Mexico publication, the Rio Rancho Observer, said representatives of United States Property Services inflate the price their supposed buyers are willing to pay, then charge fees between $300 and $800. The company seems to target senior citizens, the article said.
A call to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office was not returned Wednesday.
State corporation records show that the president of D&D is Thomas J. Coots of Largo and his company is listed as the owner of United States Property Services.
According to the Florida attorney general, B Brother Marketing does business under the name Preferred Property Services. The Florida Department of State Division of Corporations database of fictitious names lists two different owners for that company: B Brothers and another company, American Mortgage Assistance LLC.
B Brothers was dissolved in September 2008, records show. Its president was listed as Ameit D. Balkissoon of Largo. American Mortgage Assistance is registered to Kojo Enterprises Inc. of Clearwater.
Officers for that company are listed as Joe Loy of Clearwater and Nick Kopteros of Tarpon Springs.
The Better Business Bureau has given "F" ratings to both B Brothers and D&D, according to its Web site database.
Rita Farlow can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.