Bay Area Families Say Travel Agent Took Their Vacation Money
MILPITAS (KPIX 5) – Milpitas Police say they are investigating more than a dozen cases of people in Santa Clara County who paid thousands of dollars to a travel company to fly them to Hawaii, but the company didn’t come through. And KPIX5 has learned there are also folks in Alameda County whose travel plans never got off the ground.
Jodi Gray of Castro Valley paid a travel broker called House of Aloha Hawaii to take her family of 5 to the Disney resort in Hawaii next January. She said she paid $4500 to Wendy Wong from House of Aloha Hawaii but then received notice that the plans had fallen through. The travel broker texted Jodi that she would refund half her money Sunday and the other half Tuesday, but that never happened.
“I kept texting her and she’d say, ‘you’re on our list, I’m just in a bad situation right now,’” said Gray. “I’m really upset and right now I’m frustrated and I just want Wendy to be arrested for what she’s done to all of these families.”
Johnny and Erickha Phan of Milpitas were planning to renew their 25th wedding vows in Maui earlier this month. The Phans said they had invited about 80 friends and family members. But their trip also did not materialize.
“I, myself, gave her $20,000,” said Phan. “I know another family of nine that paid her over $10,000. In total, I’m thinking we gave $100,000,” he added
It’s not clear what happened to the money. Johnny says none of it was refunded. In a press release, the Milpitas Police Department publicly announced it had received a complaint about House of Aloha Hawaii from a Milpitas resident who paid money to the company but never received services. The department says it has identified at least 12 other possible victims.
A reporter from our Hawaii CBS affiliate went to the company owner’s home, but no answer. Wendy Wong had earlier agreed to an interview, but then the station says she changed her mind. KPIX 5 has also reached out to Wong, but we have not heard back.
The Milpitas Police Department says it is referring the investigation to the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office for “theft by false pretenses and failure to provide travel services as promised.”