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Telemarketing Scheme Boss From Howell Gets 15 Years

A judge in East St. Louis has sentenced a New Jersey woman to more than 15 years in prison for heading a timeshare telemarketing scheme that bilked $30 million from more than 22,000 victims across North American and Puerto Rico.

Jennifer Kirk of Howell sobbed while making an apologetic statement to a federal judge before her sentencing Monday. She’d pleaded guilty in June to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

Kirk acknowledged the harm she did to the victims and suggested she’d gotten in over her head. The judge was not swayed, calling her manipulative and aggressive.

Prosecutors say Kirk operated Florida-based Universal Marketing Solutions and later Creative Vacation Solutions.

Authorities say her companies pocketed the money telemarketers solicited from timeshare owners.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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