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Police: Long Island Travel Agent Scammed Group Out Of Pricey Cruise

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island travel agent has been arrested for allegedly scamming several people she booked a cruise ship vacation for.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that Darlene Buonauro of Wantagh was charged with scheming to defraud, a felony in New York.

Authorities claims the 57-year-old tricked at least six clients out of more than $10,000.

(Credit: CBS2)

"Instead of the luxury Alaskan cruise that they paid for, this unscrupulous travel agent allegedly left her victims high and dry when she stole their cruise fare," DA Singas said in a press release.

Two cruise ship passengers reportedly booked their trip through Buonauro's company, Learning Through Travel Journeys in Bellmore, in 2017 to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Four other people later joined the couple's Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) trip and sent their payments for the Alaska vacation to Buonauro however, the money never made its way to NCL. The travel agent also allegedly sent her victims notices that said the trip had been paid for in full.

Right before their scheduled departure in August of 2018, the travelers found out from NCL that their reservations had been cancelled when their payments were not received.

Nassau County officials said travelers using a travel agent should follow these steps when booking a vacation:

  • Ask for a copy of the booking confirmation issued by the cruise line, airline, or hotel at the time of your first deposit.
  • When buying travel insurance, ask the name of the insurance carrier and get a copy of that confirmation letter too.
  • If you're booking a cruise, note the date that the trip must be paid in full by.
  • Check with Consumer Affairs to see if any complaints have been filed against your travel agency.
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