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AG: NJ Couple Accused Of Operating Travel Scam

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- State prosecutors have accused a southern New Jersey couple of pitching phony vacation travel membership packages and collecting fees for discount airfares and cruises that were never delivered.

Authorities said 41-year-old Daryl Turner and 43-year-old Robyn Bernstein laundered $700,000 from victims between January 2007 and July 2011 and used the money to buy a luxury home in Marlton.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said the couple falsely promised large discounts to those who bought vacation packages that typically cost between $2,200 and $6,500.

In addition, prosecutors said they 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.

Chiesa said the investigation stemmed from a civil case that was brought on by the Division of Consumer Affairs after consumers filed complaints.

"And then as things progressed, it became clear that these folks crossed the line from a civil case to a criminal case," Chiesa told 1010 WINS. "This is a scam that went on for a long time and they were able to continue the scam and lure customers in by changing business names repeatedly."

Elie Honig, the director of the Division of Criminal, called it "a flagrant case of consumer fraud."

"We allege Turner and Bernstein never intended to deliver on their offers of free cruises and airfare or their promises of big discounts on vacation packages," Honig said in statement. "We will continue to take referrals from the Division of Consumer Affairs on cases where we allege that the line is crossed from business enterprise to criminal enterprise."

Turner and Bernstein are both charged with conspiracy, money laundering and theft.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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