Travel Agents Convicted in Fraud Cruise Scam

Travel agents should take note of the case of two travel agents brought up on fraud charges in Texas this week. A jury found Carol Ribaudo, 52, and Sonja Ritz, 28, guilty of mail fraud and the two face up to 20 years in prison and fines reaching well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The two operated Elite Business Services in McKinney, TX, 33 miles north of Dallas, and accepted payment from prospective clients for a charter cruise scheduled for February 2004. One problem: Neither Ribaudo or Ritz had contracted with any cruise lines, nor had they provided payment to any line, according to testimony by U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe. The jury's verdict ended a five-day trial.