Hawaii travel agent pleads guilty to Bay Area fraud

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A Hawaii The formerly Milpitas travel agent pleaded guilty after defrauding dozens of Bay Area residents, some of whom were his former classmates and family friends.

Wendy Wong, owner of a travel agency called House of Aloha Hawaii, pleaded guilty to two felony charges on August 23 to failing to return money for unprovided travel services and to unlawfully withdrawing funds from commercial accounts, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office said. Monday.

According to a KGO survey Starting in 2021, Wong would roll out a litany of excuses for why flights and hotels weren’t booked – alleging bad weather and airline issues were causing cancellations. Wong never booked the flights or hotels in the first place.

Jennifer Sioxson, a friend of Wong’s family, told KGO she was left without a hotel by the time she arrived in Hawaii for a vacation. She was forced to pay for a hotel out of pocket, she told KGO, but Wong turned her around when asked for a refund.

“She was a friend of the family, our kids are friends, she’s hosted my kids in her house a couple of times, so you know, I just thought she’d come back,” Sioxson told the station.

Wong was not licensed by the state of Hawaii to be a travel agent, according to the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau also cited House of Aloha Hawaii as saying the organization “has received a series of complaints about contract and service issues” from affected customers.

Wong is expected to be sentenced in November. If she pays $155,000 in restitution to her former clients, she won’t face jail time — but will be on felony probation for two years.

Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Tamalca Harris did not respond to a request for comment from SFGATE.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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