Monday,  August 26, 2019  4:18 am

Cruise crime: Fort Erie woman convicted on TICO charges

Cruise crime: Fort Erie woman convicted on TICO charges

A Fort Erie, Ontario travel agent has been convicted on two Travel Industry Act charges, stemming from fraudulent cruise bookings in 2016 and 2017.

Karen Gushue, also known as Karen Robinson, was convicted on two counts of operating as a travel agent without registration. Sentencing proceedings are scheduled to take place on April 12, 2019.

READ MORE: Karen Robinson facing TICO charges

The charges stem from 2017 and 2016, when it’s alleged that Gushue booked travellers on cruises that were not as advertised or did not take place at all, according to NewsTalk 610. 

What did she do?

According to TICO, Gushue arranged two cruises, described as fundraisers for the Ridgeway Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, for which the consumers paid Gushue. 

One cruise was to Bahamas and one was to Hawaii. 

A cruise to Bahamas took place but was different than what was described and paid for. Consumers did not receive the flight home paid for. 

The cruise to Hawaii didn’t happen but was canceled without promised refund. Had these cruises been booked through an Ontario registered travel agent consumers would have been able to claim against the Travel Industry Compensation Fund for travel paid for, not received and not refunded. 

"Ms. Gushue was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion located in the Fort Erie area and promoted and sold travel services to consumers without TICO registration," Dorian Werda, VP operations, TICO, confirmed in a statement to PAX.

On Feb. 8, 2019, after a multi day trial that took place in the Ontario Court of Justice in St Catharines on January 7, 8 and 9, 2019, Gushue was convicted of two counts of acting or holding herself out as being available to act as a travel agent without being registered as a travel agent under the Travel Industry Act 2002, contrary to the Act.

Sentencing submissions are scheduled to take place April 12, 2019. After that the defendant has a right of appeal.

Gushue also faces criminal fraud charges in relation to these incidents.

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