Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman on Wednesday announced that a Denver court has ordered Stephen Wunder, Andrew Wunder, Bethany Wunder, and Christian Wunder, who owned and operated the Broomfield-based travel clubs Sea to Ski Vacations and Traditions Travel Group, to pay more than $7 million to Colorado for defrauding consumers. Both of those companies have been voluntarily dissolved, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
The attorney general’s office also warned that the Wunders could still be operating in other states.
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The case stems from a 2013 lawsuit filed by then-Colorado Attorney General John Suthers alleging that the Wunders deceived consumers throughout the country in the operation of their travel club.
The Court’s most recent decision stems from an appeal filed by Stephen Wunder. In its order Wednesday, the Court increased the amount of its original judgment and ordered the Wunders to cease all business activities. It also permanently barred the Wunders from owning or working for any company that sells time shares, condominium reservations, hotel reservations, airline tickets, or cruise line reservations.
Wunder family members promised members of their travel club deep discounts at exotic hotels and times hares around the world.
“In reality, the Wunders did nothing more than search online travel websites to book their clients’ travels,” a release from the attorney general’s office states. “Consumers ultimately paid the Wunders thousands of dollars for a service they could have gotten online for free.”
Coffman believes the Wunders continue to charge consumers’ credit cards using a web of limited liability companies and aliases to mask their business activities, according to the release, sent Wednesday. The Wunders registered and operated businesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming to “hide their identities and squeeze as much money from unwitting consumers as they could.”
One recent instance was when the Wunders charged a New York couple’s credit card without permission using an Austin-based business called Member Club Services and Top of the Line Productions, a Los Angeles-based business, according Coffman.
In a separate instance, the Wunders registered a Park City business called Condos and Cruises Worldwide with the Utah Secretary of State under the name of their incapacitated mother, according to the release.
“The Wunders’ sales pitch included mailing postcards claiming that the recipient had won free airline tickets and other prizes, often using airline logos to suggest the airlines knew about these offers,” the release states.
The attorney general’s office warns that similar postcards using the Southwest, United, and Delta logos are frequently used to attract consumers to travel club and timeshare presentations.
The office believes Christian Wunder left Colorado for Chandler, Arizona, and Andrew and Bethany Wunder left Colorado for Austin, Texas. Stephen Wunder lives in Midway, Utah.
“These individuals cannot be trusted to run a business,” Coffman said. “The court’s seven million dollar judgement and order barring them from working in this industry again will help protect Coloradans, however, I am concerned that these defendants may be continuing to operate in other states. I urge all consumers to be careful and to do their homework before giving their hard earned money to any company, and to immediately report any fraud or suspicious behavior.”
If anyone has information about any of these individuals or any companies they may be operating, or to report any other possible fraudulent activity, the office asks them to file a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General at stopfraudcolorado.gov , or by calling 1-800-222-4444.