More People Come Forward Following Vacation Scam Investigation - NBC 10 Philadelphia

More People Come Forward Following Vacation Scam Investigation

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    More People Come Forward Following Vacation Scam Investigation
    NBC10

    More people are coming forward following an NBC 10 investigation.

    Harry Hairston and the NBC 10 investigators have more details about what law enforcement sources call a bogus vacation club, ripping off people for thousands of dollars.


    On Tuesday, law enforcement sources said there is an ongoing investigation into Caribbean Fun Stays, a company that sold vacation packages for thousands of dollars and then closed its doors abruptly, leaving customers outraged.

    Fun seekers said a local vacation company promised some of the best vacations at bargain basement deals.

    "They would enable us to take these kind of vacations at a guaranteed 40 to 50 percent discount," Karl Figenbaum, of Exton, Pa., said.

    If you think it sounds too good to be true, you're not alone, federal agents think so, too.

    "Just like any other fraud, it's a fraud that pops up now and then," Oriey Glenn, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said.

    Police said they are investigating if that company rented office space at a King of Prussia location and offered those incredible deals with no intentions on making good.

    Federal and local police sources said the company is Caribbean Fun Stays. Sources said it's under investigation for taking advantage of dozens of area people looking for vacation deals.

    "I received a letter a card in the mail saying I had won one of four prizes I was guaranteed," Figenbaum said.

    Figenbaum said the letter invited him to attend a presentation.

    Figenbaum said sales representatives promised him extremely discounted exotic vacations, cruises on the cheap and rooms at big time resorts at super low prices.

    All he had to do was pay Caribbean Fun Stays a one-time fee to join Leisure Connections, the company that would actually book the trips.

    "The initial investment for us was around $4,000 with a $299 annual re-upment, annual dues," Figenbaum said.

    In an earlier report, NBC 10 reported about the Tinsleys, who paid $3,000 to join the same club.

    "The upfront, the show and tell, was phenomenal, it was excellent," Rusty Tinsley, of Bryn Mawr, said.

    But actually none of what they said they were told was in the contract they signed.

    If fact, Caribbean Fun Stays makes it very clear they merely sold them the opportunity to call another company to request vacation reservations.

    "This says welcome aboard we would like to welcome you the opportunity to wish you the warmest welcome to Leisure Connections Travel," Figenbaum said.

    Also with the welcome note was a Caribbean Fun Stays acknowledgment letter.

    Although it promises the lowest vacation rates made available to Leisure Connections, also known as LCT, it also clearly states there are no guarantees.

    But how did LCT's deals compare to deals members could've gotten online by themselves?

    Here's some of what the NBC 10 Investigators found.

    For a rental car at Philadelphia's International Airport, the Investigators found the cheapest economy car for $55 a day.

    So what's the savings with that $4,000 membership -- nothing. LCT's best deal was exactly the same at $55.

    The Investigators also checked round-trip airfare from Philadelphia to Cancun, and found a deal at $378.

    LCT's best deal for the same day was worst than nothing at $487, an extra $109.

    When NBC 10's Harry Hairston called Leisure Connections to ask about the pricing, a woman answering the phone who claimed she was in charge, said she could not release any information and hung up the phone.

    And to the surprise of members, Caribbean Fun Stays closed up shop just months after they joined.

    Figenbaum said when he couldn't get a hold of the company to complain about alleged promises, he contacted the feds.

    "They said that Caribbean Fun Stays was being investigated and could I please make a copy of all the info I got from Caribbean Fun Stays and send it to her," Figenbaum said.

    Federal investigators said they cannot talk about ongoing investigations.

    "We will investigative these particular types of acts, and fortunately we've been successful in identifying and prosecuting a number of individuals," Glenn said.

    Police said the investigation is still ongoing but no one has been charged.

    An attorney for Caribbean Fun Stays said the company went bankrupt. But said the vast majority of clients were satisfied and all clients got what the paid for, a membership in a vacation travel club.

    The attorney said LCT is honoring the packages sold, but when asked how does he knows, he said he has no first-hand knowledge.