John Ross Greer, 59, a vacation broker based in Richmond, pleaded guilty Wednesday to Mail Fraud. Greer waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a one-count Criminal Information. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 yearsâ€™ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised when he is sentenced on September 19, 2012.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBIâ€™s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge John A. Gibney.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Greer admitted owning Richmond-based Unusual Villas and Island Rentals (â€œUVIRâ€), an internet-based brokerage firm specializing in domestic and international rentals of luxury private villas, islands, and other properties. Greer admitted that from about February 2008 through the present he used a websiteâ€”http://www.unusualvillarentals.comâ€”to solicit both vacationers and owners of vacation homes as clients.
He also admitted that, on various occasions, he retained vacationersâ€™ funds and commingled them with his other funds; regularly failed to forward vacationersâ€™ funds, in whole and in part, to the owners; failed to return security deposits to vacationers; and, on at least two occasions, failed to pay commissions owed to travel agents. Greer acknowledged that he regularly used incoming vacationersâ€™ funds to pay old vacationersâ€™ claims and simply kept the vacationersâ€™ funds without repayment.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Aber Brumberg is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.