Hair Balls was crestfallen to learn that unsolicited faxes and e-mails from travel agencies offering luxury vacations at bargain prices might not always be 100 percent legit: Lawsuits filed by attorneys general in Texas and Indiana are accusing at least four Houstonians of defrauding folks with bogus travel offers.
The suits accuse Joseph Daniel Chavez Jr., Elisama Gonzalez, Lizbeth P. Villasenor and Casey Jennings of selling nonexistent packages, sometimes for between $49 and $149, followed by a bunch of unexpected add-ons. The defendants allegedly took in tens of thousands of dollars a month, operating under names like Encore Travel, N-Travel and Adventures, Nations Travel and Luxury Vacation Promotions, among others.
"Defendants make promises they cannot keep and then charge consumers for products that do not exist and services that have not been performed," according to the Texas AG's suit, filed in Harris County District Court. The suit seeks a permanent injunction, civil penalties and refunds to the allegedly cheated customers. (The AG is also asking for a "disgorgement of Defendants' assets," which kinda sounds like some sort of old-timey medical procedure.)
The accused include Joseph Daniel Chavez, Jr., Elisama Gonzalez, Lizbeth P. Villasenor and Casey Jennings, none of whom we've been able to reach yet, and none of whom have filed responses.
The phone numbers on the faxes and e-mails filed as exhibits in the suits that we've tried so far are aren't working. But according to the Texas suit, "Defendants use fictitious names over the phone, have operated with a large amount [of] phone numbers, have purposefully changed assumed names on multiple occasions, and have moved physical locations....Such methods appear to have worked so far, as Defendants brazenly continue to dupe customers."
"Brazenly"! Bring the pain, AG!
Oh, and the icing on the shit-cake is that, according to the suit, the accused "lavishly spend consumers' payments for their own personal use, including vacations."