A 42-year-old former Long Beach Resident on Monday pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for leading a telemarketing scheme in which dozens of timeshare owners were scammed out of millions of dollars from 2015 to 2019 by giving them false promises of financial relief.
Michael McDonagh, who currently lives in Lowell, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and admitted in his plea agreement that more than $3.5 million in actual losses were caused by him or his co-schemers whom he employed at his various telemarketing companies.
Four other defendants also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
McDonagh founded or was in control of Irvine-based Global Transfer Inc., Costa Mesa-based Global Transfer SoCal Inc., Santa Ana-based Nationwide Transfer Inc., and Signal Hill-based Nationwide Exit Specialist Inc., which all purported to offer timeshare relief to individuals. Once a company became inundated with complaints, McDonagh would start a new one to continue scheming, authorities said.
McDonagh will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison in an Oct. 30 sentencing hearing scheduled by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter.
According to court documents, from 2015 to May 2019, timeshare owners were contacted by McDonagh’s telemarketing companies and offered help with terminating their timeshare interest if they paid a fee.
If the owner of the timeshare agreed or expressed interest in the services, they would be transferred to another person who would coax them into paying more money by falsely promising things such as large settlement of litigation against the victim’s timeshare company or large “restitution” payments from the victim’s timeshare company because they would lie and say the timeshare company had rented out the victim’s property without their permission, according to the Department of Justice.
The U.S. Secret Service and the Huntington Beach Police Department investigated the matter and McDonagh and three others were arrested in May 2022.