This is a tourist’s worse nightmare, and likely happens more often than people realize. The problem is amplified abroad where language barriers and foreign laws make it more difficult to take action.
A Livonia man faces 9 felonies for running a travel scam that ripped off at least 100 Michiganders, most of them senior citizens, the Michigan Attorney General‘s office announced today.
Kenneth Second, 44, of Livonia, ran Timeway Tours, a company that ran bus trips to nearby states for events like the Kentucky Derby and Branson, Missouri, concerts. He booked tours and took travelers’ money, much of it in cash or checks, then never ran the tours, state attorney general Bill Schuette said.
“It’s absolutely shameful to prey on innocent seniors who are living their golden years on limited budgets,” he said.
The Free Press reported many of the seniors’ stories last spring.
Timeway defrauded at least 100 consumers in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Jackson and Traverse City, for a total of between $150,000-$200,000, the charges say.
When victims who failed to receive confirmation of their trips requested more information, they were promised refunds that never materialized. According to the charges, Second spent most of the cash at casinos.
Second and his company, Timeway Tours, were arraigned Monday December 17 in Livonia’s 16th District Court on one count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises Racketeering, a 20-year felony; two counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, a seven year felony; and six counts of Larceny by Conversion, a five year felony.
Second was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to wear a tether. Second is next due in court for a pre-exam conference on Dec. 20.
Don Pockrandt of Bay City, one of the victims, was relieved that Second will face charges. He and his wife lost $700 on a Kentucky Derby trip last spring that never materialized.
“I’m glad they caught him,” he said Tuesday, “but I don’t think I’ll lose too much sleep waiting to get my money back.”