New Jersey couple sentenced for travel scam

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. - January 31, 2014

A judge sentenced 41-year-old Daryl Turner to prison for seven years and sentence his wife, 43-year-old Robyn Bernstein, to five years of probation. Both were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2.6 million.

They pleaded guilty in August to theft by deception.

As part of their plea agreements, the couple agreed to forfeit their Marlton mansion and other assets.

The couple ran eight travel companies over four years, opening and shutting them as complaints rolled in, and in the process cheated hundreds of customers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling phony vacation membership packages and collecting fees in advance on supposedly free travel.

Prosecutors say Turner and Bernstein falsely promised large discounts and benefits to those who bought vacation packages, which typically cost between $2,200 and $6,500.

Authorities said it was difficult to keep up with the couple because they would open and shut back-to-back businesses quickly.

"It was like a leap frog effect," said Richard Loufik, an investigator for the Attorney General's Office.

Turner and Bernstein laundered $700,000 of the proceeds through personal bank accounts to buy their Marlton mansion and high-end cars.

The State Division of Consumer Affairs filed its first complaint against Turner in 2009.

In February 2011, officials said, Turner agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle the complaint, including more than $2 million in restitution, and agreed to stay out of the travel business for five years. Prosecutors said the money was never paid.

After the settlement, authorities found he was involved with another travel company owned by his wife, and he was arrested on theft charges in July 2011.

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