South Jersey Travel Company Owners Indicted for Bilking Customers
A Burlington County man, who owned and operated vacation travel club companies, has been indicted along with his wife on charges that they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers by pitching phony vacation travel membership packages and collecting fees for "free" promotional airfares or cruises that were never delivered.
Forty-one-year-old Daryl Turner and his wife, 43-year-old Robyn Bernstein of Marlton are charged with first-degree conspiracy and money laundering and two counts of second-degree theft by deception.
In the indictment, Turner and Bernstein are accused of falsely promising large discounts and benefits to those who bought vacation packages, which typically cost between $2,200 and $6,500 knowing that the promised discounts weren't available.
They also allegedly 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" trips.
The couple is accused of laundering more than $700,000 in criminal proceeds from the victims through two personal bank accounts and using the money to buy their luxury home in Marlton.
Repeated Openings, Shutdowns of Business
"Like a pair of old-school con artists, Turner and Bernstein allegedly operated eight different travel companies in a little over four years, closing one company down and opening another in a new location whenever they felt the heat because consumers learned of their fraud," said Attorney General Jeff Chiesa. "The defendants allegedly tricked people out of their hard-earned money, promising vacation deals that they knew did not exist. Because of the large sums of money involved, which they allegedly laundered, they will face lengthy prison sentences if convicted."
The first-degree counts carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. The money laundering charge carries fines and penalties of up to $1 million. Turner is also charged with four counts of third-degree failure to file a state income tax return from 2008 through 2011. Bernstein is charged with failing to file a 2011 state income tax return.