A Cary man was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison on Friday for a real estate scam that involved selling bogus shares in Florida vacation properties.
Hubolist Elliott, 43, was sentenced by a federal judge in St. Louis, where he was charged in December with one count of felony mail fraud, after an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Elliott pleaded guilty in February.
Elliott defrauded at least 10 investors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Losses to investors from the scam, which ran between 2009 and 2014, totaled more than $2 million.
Elliott conducted the scam through his company, Travel World Vacations, which is based in Apex, according to the company’s website. Elliott sold investors shares in Florida vacation properties, which neither he nor the company owned, according to court documents. In some cases, the properties did not exist.
Prosecutors say he used the investments to pay interest to other investors, as well as to cover personal expenses and expenses for other companies that he owned.
Most of the investors were of retirement age, according to court documents, and were seeking an investment for retirement funds. Elliott publicized the property investments online and through direct mailings.
The website for Travel World Vacations, which still advertises properties in Utah and the Caribbean, appears to no longer be active.
In one instance, an investor in Missouri entered into a series of transactions with Travel World, receiving “deeds of trust” for properties in Sarasota, Fla. In 2010, the investor made the first payment, $46,500 by check to Travel World. One of the properties that Elliott purported to be selling was identified as “Calle Minorga Unit 1,” which did not exist.