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Post date: June 16 2003

Queens Travel Agency Ordered To Pay Refunds

Attorney General Spitzer today praised a court decision that orders a Queens travel agency to pay refunds to scores of consumers who paid for travel arrangements to Spain and Portugal but never received plane tickets or other services.

Justice Sherry Klein Heitler of Manhattan State Supreme Court cited P.U. Travel, Inc. of Queens, which does business as Plus Ultra Tours, for violating state consumer protection laws by accepting payment for travel but failing to provide travel services or make refunds to consumers.

"The failure of this company to honor its commitments ruined many people's plans," Spitzer said. "The court's order provides restitution and establishes reforms that will protect other consumers."

In a lawsuit filed last December, Spitzer's office alleged that Robert A. Perez and Anicento Perez, officers of Plus Ultra, closed their travel agency in June 2002 and attempted to transfer money to various bank accounts to thwart attempts by consumers to obtain refunds.

In December, Spitzer's office located $240,000 in corporate funds that had been deposited in a Long Island bank and obtained a restraining order freezing the bank accounts.

The decision by Justice Heitler orders refunds to be paid to Plus Ultra's defrauded customers and extends the restraining order that froze the bank accounts containing the company's funds. It is anticipated that several hundred consumers will be eligible for refunds.

In addition, the Attorney General froze approximately $100,000 in the officers' personal accounts. Justice Heitler ordered a hearing to examine whether the officiers should be held personally liable for restitution to injured consumers. This hearing will also consider the amount in civil penalties that will be assessed against Plus Ultra.

The judge's order also bars Plus Ultra and the officers from engaging in any additional deceptive and fraudulent practices and orders them to render an accounting of monies received from each customer for travel services.

Individuals with complaints against Plus Ultra are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's office by calling (212) 416-8300.

This case was handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Michele Marqui of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.