New Jersey Travel Fraud Case Settled for $3 MillionFeb 2nd, 2011 | By Sue Gonzales | Category: Travel
Daryl Turner of Cherry Hill, New Jersey has settled to pay more than $3 million in compensation for fraudulent travel deals and discounts, the State of New Jersey announced Wednesday.
For years, Turner ran a scam using fly-by-night companies that opened their doors in one location and then quickly closed and moved before victims and authorities could catch up. Turner’s companies used bait-and-switch tactics to lure consumers in with discount offers. When the offers went unfulfilled and consumers started demanding refunds, companies would refuse and skip town, then start over elsewhere under different names.
Turner operated at least 11 companies in different locations around the state, including Manalapan, Marlton, Egg Harbor Township and other locations. Companies named in the suit against Turner included Dreamworks Vacation Club, Dreamworks Vacations, Dreamworks, Bentley Travel, Modern Destinations Unlimited, Blue Water, Five Points Travel Company, La Bonne Vie, Dream Vacations International, Vacation Clubs LLC, and Away We Go Promotions. The companies were also guilty of using airline, hotel, and car rental logos without permission.
One term of the settlement requires Turner to pay $3.086 million. Of that, $2.188 million is for compensation to consumers, $478,000 is for civil penalties, and $420,000 for attorney costs and investigatory expenses. Turner must also post a $250,000 bond.
The settlement also stipulates that Turner may not engage in any travel-related businesses in New Jersey for five years, and cannot open or operate similar businesses in the future without state approval.
To cover the costs of the settlement, the judgment permits the state to secure liens against any real property in which Turner has an interest and seize his assets. This will process will take time before Turner’s victims can be fully repaid, New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs representative Thomas Calcagni emphasized.
Victims who filed complaints against one of Turner’s companies with Consumer Affairs will be notified by mail of the settlement. The state will work with them to transmit refunds through credit card charge-backs. About 200 of 678 consumers who have complained have already received charge-back refunds. The state encourages victims who haven’t yet filed complaints to do so.
Inquiries should be directed to Consumer Affairs Investigator Murat Botas at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. To file a complaint with Consumer Affairs, go online to www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/comp.htm or call (973) 504-6200 or (800) 242-5846.