By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They wanted to take a trip but instead got taken for a ride! You heard about it first here on CBS 3. Hundreds of people who paid for vacations that they never received. Well tonight we have news that the victims have been waiting for. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has been following this story for three years and has the details.
Daryl Turner was in the business of pitching phony vacation packages and tricked consumers out of millions of dollars. Well today he took a trip of his own. He’s on his way to prison.
Over a several year period Turner and his wife Robyn Bernstein operated different travel and promotional businesses, closing one company down and opening another in a new location when consumers suspected fraud.
Well, not any more. New Jersey Superior Court Judge Terrence Cook sentenced the couple today after they plead guilty to charges of theft by deception. Turner was sentenced to seven years in prison, Bernstein was sentenced to five years on probation. Both have agreed to pay restitution of over $2.5 million dollars.
Turner and Bernstein operated using names like: Away We Go, Dreamworks Vacations, Bentley Travel, Blue Water, La Bonne Vie Travel and Five Points Travel. But the couple was really in the business of ripping people off. A state investigation revealed they had pitched phony vacation packages and failed to deliver promised airline tickets and cruises to clients.
At least 750 of those clients upfront fees as part of a promotional offer, yet they never got a trip. Instead Turner and Bernstein used the money to finance a lavish life style which included expensive cars and pricey home in Marlton. A home which Turner won’t see again as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Under a plea agreement, Turner and Bernstein agreed to forfeit that home in Marlton and other assets seized in the investigation, including bank accounts, cars and a boat. It’s only after the assets are liquidated that we’ll know how much money will be returned to the victims.