As I get older, my memory seems to be failing me. I knew one of the players in the Bernardo Barrera criminal case was somehow familiar to me, I just couldn't figure out where I knew him from, it dawned on me last night. About a year and a half ago a friend told me about a travel agent that had fantastic deals on Royal Caribbean cruises, somehow this travel agent was able to book cruises at half price! The best staterooms, the best cruises, the best dates all for half price. With the trying economic times we were all in, who wouldn't jump at this deal?
I booked a cruise for my family which would have cost nearly $12,000 all for the paltry sum of $5,000, what a deal! It seemed like the more people I asked in my group of friends, the more people had given this travel agent money! In some instances we were even going to be on the same cruises! With the dates booked, we anxiously awaited our confirmation and reservation information, first she explained there was some delays, then as we drew within a week from the sailing date still no confirmation, she assured us that everything would be alright though. Now we were two days before the date the ship was supposed to sail and STILL NOTHING! One day before the trip was to start, STILL NOTHING and now we couldn't get the travel agent (at least the woman that was posing as the travel agent) on the phone. At this point we had given up and figured we got screwed.
Once we all came to the realization that our money was gone, we had all gotten together and tallied what we had given this charlatan, we were able to account for a little over $100,000 (just from our group of friends) that had been given to this crook. I can only imagine how many other people are out there that are unaccounted for. From what I'm told this so called "travel agent" did manage to get a couple of families onto a caribbean cruise, but during their stop over and Puerto Rico, the cruise was boarded by the FBI and these families were taken off the ship, detained and questioned about how they got their tickets. They were subsequently forced to pay for the full fair before they were allowed back on the ship!
After trying for months to find the woman and get our money back, we were left with no choice but to pursue legal channels. A number of the families involved went ahead and sued the woman civilly and one of the victims who was an attorney decided to go on behalf of all the victims to the State Attorneys Office and open a criminal complaint against this woman. This attorney went over to the State Attorneys office and spoke at length with an ASA from the Economic Crimes Unit about how the travel agent had screwed us out of over $100,000. Our hopes were high as we expected the woman to be criminally charged, we weren't going to get our money back, but at least we would have the satisfaction of seeing this BITCH behind bars!
After hearing our story, what do you think the ASA's conclusion was? An investigation? A call to the MDPD to go pick the woman up? An immediate arrest affidavit? NOPE! After all this, the best the ASA could do was to tell the attorney that there was nothing that he could do and in fact this was a CIVIL MATTER! WTF?!
We lost over $100,000 (not to mention the victims that we don't know about) and this assistant state attorney decides that THERE'S NO CASE HERE?! JESUS FCUKING CHRIST! I kissed my money goodbye long ago, we should have known better than to think we could get help from the state attorneys office. All of this was forgotten though, until last night when in a moment of clarity the name of the ASA who came to this conclusion dawned upon me. Does this story ring any bells for any of our readers? Can anyone guess the assistant state attorneys name who came to this conclusion?