by Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You heard about it first here on CBS 3, would-be-travelers complaining that they paid for vacations that they never received. Now we have a 3 On Your Side follow up. Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us that the couple behind the scheme has finally been indicted.
It’s been more than two years since the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office started receiving hundreds of complaints from consumers that they were ripped off in a travel scam.
On Tuesday, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced an indictment against Daryl Turner and wife Robyn Bernstein on charges they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars pitching phony travel membership packages and collecting fees for free trips that were never delivered. Chiesa says, “These defendants allegedly tricked people out of their hard earned money promising vacation deals that didn’t exist.”
Officials say the Burlington county couple ran the scams from January of 2007 through July of 2011. According to Chiesa, “Like a pair of old school con-artists, Turner and Bernstein allegedly operated 8 different travel companies in a little over 4 years, closing one company down and opening another in a new location whenever they felt the heat because consumers learned about their fraud.
Among the company names used by the company were Away We Go, Dreamworks Vacations, Bentley Travel, Blue Water, La Bonne Vie Travel and Five Points Travel Company.
Joe and Kathleen Holden lost $598 and are happy to learn the couple that ran the scam may finally be held accountable. Mr. Holden says, “This is great Jim because its we feel no more people can be ripped off and it’s just fruition in the fact that all of the hard work that we’ve done to bring this person to justice.”
Turner and Bernstein face multiple criminal charges, including theft and first degree money laundering. If found guilty they face 10 to 20 years in prison and penalties of up to $1 million dollars.
For more information about this story visit: http://nj.gov/oag/newsreleases13/pr20130423a.html