NJ Couple Admits Running Travel Scam For Years
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A southern New Jersey couple who operated several vacation travel club companies have admitted stealing millions of dollars from customers.
State prosecutors say 41-year-old Daryl Turner and his 44-year-old wife, Robyn Bernstein, both pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft by deception charges. Daryl Turner faces seven years in prison when he’s sentenced in January, while his wife faces five years of probation.
Turner admitted that he pitched phony vacation travel membership packages to numerous customers. Besides his prison term, he also must enter a consent judgment to pay restitution of roughly $2.6 million.
As part of their plea agreements, the couple agreed to forfeit their Marlton mansion and other assets seized in the investigation, including various bank accounts.
“Turner was a master of the slick sales pitch, and he used his powers of deception to steal $2.6 million from customers of his travel companies,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said. “This guilty plea serves justice by ensuring that Turner will be sentenced to a substantial prison term.”
Hoffman said the state’s investigation revealed that Turner and Bernstein falsely promised large discounts and benefits to those who bought vacation packages, which typically cost between $2,200 and $6,500. Hoffman said the couple knew that the promised discounts and benefits were not available.
They also failed to deliver “free” round-trip airline tickets and cruises after customers paid them hundreds of dollars in fees and surcharges to qualify for the “free” promotional trips. Hoffman said Turner and Bernstein laundered more than $700,000 in criminal proceeds from the victims through their personal bank accounts and used the money to buy their luxury home.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)