Whitby woman allegedly acted as a travel agent, defrauded agencies of more than $245K
Published Monday, July 10, 2023 9:53PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 10, 2023 9:53PM EDT
The Durham Region Police Service (DRPS) has charged a Whitby woman after she allegedly defrauded several agencies of more than $245,000 by fraudulently selling vacations for more than a decade.
DRPS’s Financial Crimes Unit began an investigation in 2020 after receiving reports that a woman was impersonating a travel agent and was ‘kiting.’
“Kiting is a common type of fraud in the travel industry, where an agent collects cash payments from clients and doesn’t apply the money to the client’s vacation, but rather pockets the cash,” police said in a press release.
“The female had been participating in this practice between 2011 and 2019, using a falsified Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) certificate and defrauded several travel agencies of more than $245,000.”
Police say the woman owns her own travel business called “Travel Girls Inc,” and has allegedly used more than 20 aliases while fraudulently selling vacations.
She claims to specialize in group travel and destination weddings, according to police.
Tarcia Craig Brown, 43, is charged with numerous fraud related offences in connection with the investigation, including fraud exceeding $5,000, unauthorized use of credit card data, and forgery.
Police say she was released on an undertaking. The charges have not been proven in court.
“As a reminder, when looking for a travel agent use a TICO certified agent, you can search travel companies on the TICO website with the TICO number to confirm validity at https://www.tico.ca/,” the press release read.
“Try and use a reputable agency, or an agent recommend by someone you know and trust.”
Police are asking witnesses and other victims to come forward, and have released a list of the aliases the accused is known to have used over the years.
They include Alora Tarcia Brown, Yania Amaya Tarcia Brown and Naviya Craig Adolph.
Anyone with information is asked to contact D/Cst. Middleton of the Financial Crimes Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5321, or Crime Stoppers anonymously.