Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NJ Travel Agency Allegedly Steals From Dozens Of Customers
Problems With Sunrise Sunset Travel

Jun 6, 2005 5:00 pm US/EasternNEW YORK (CBS) They were planning trips of a lifetime. Instead, dozens of customers say their New Jersey travel agent took their money, and left them high-and-dry. The storefront travel agency in Lyndhurst has a lot of people steamed.?I can?t believe that someone can do something like this to so many people,? says Mariana Emmolo, unhappy customer.Mariana Emmolo of Totowa says she?s been cheated out of the price of two round-trip tickets to Italy. One family in Hawthorne had purchased 22 tickets which really adds up.?35, 63, over ten thousand dollars we spent, my whole family,? says Joseph Valenti.One of those burned was Angela Biondo.?I plan this trip for years. My mother, brother and sister are in Italy. My niece is getting married,? says Angela Biondo. It was word-of-mouth that brought customers to Sunrise Sunset Travel. This is where customers say owner Rita Giarruso-Connolly had offered rock-bottom prices of $650 dollars round-trip. But the tickets were never produced. Some customers even showed up at airports only to find they had no reservation and not tickets. ?I keep on calling and I say, Rita, when we get tickets? And she says, next week. I call again, always, next week,? says Valenti. Last Friday, CBS 2 News found a note on the locked door, ?out to get tickets,? it said. Customers say the notes are there frequently. It was there again today and the place was again, closed. CBS 2 News went to the owner?s home where Rita Connolly?s husband was in the basement.CBS 2 News asked a family friend to have her call and a call placed to her attorney was not returned.What?s next? A show-cause hearing is set for tomorrow, at which a judge will determine whether there?s probable cause to issue charges of theft by deception.

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