California pair sentenced to jail time

Edward Pio and Kay Burtness of Pio Travel in Salinas, Calif., were sentenced to a year in jail in California after pleading guilty to 26 felonies between 2002 and 2004.

They face another six years in prison if they dont make full restitution of $400,000 they took from clients, many of them senior citizens, without providing either trips or refunds.

Included was a grand theft charge for accepting money from Carnival Cruise Lines on the pretense that it would go to a nonprofit group plus two counts of making unauthorized charges on client credit cards.

The pair paid $68,000 in restitution this March and must pay another $48,000 a year until a total of $400,000 is paid. Of that total, the first $170,000 will go to 180 victims who were ineligible to make claims against Californias consumer protection fund, which has already paid $342,000 to some 300 victims.

The defendants will face the full prison term if they miss one payment.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI