SALINAS, Calif. --
Travel agents Edward Pio and Kay Burtness pled guilty in Monterey
County Superior Court here to 26 felony charges.
Most of the charges
were connected with their operation of Pio Travel in Salinas from
August 2002 to December 2004 during which they accepted money from
clients but failed to provide the travel or refunds.
One charge of grand
theft involved accepting money from Carnival Cruise Lines after
saying the money would go to a nonprofit organization. The
defendants also admitted to two charges of credit card fraud after
making unauthorized charges on client cards.
The pair will be
sentenced Feb. 9. They are obliged to make restitution of $400,000
to 646 victims. Depending on how well they meet their restitution
obligations, they could serve jail time of anywhere from one year
to 19 years.
other agents, accused of taking more than $50,000 from customers
without delivering travel or refunds, are slated for a court
hearing in San Francisco on Dec. 16. The three defendants are Iqbal
(Paul), Gurdev (Debbie) and their son Manjinder (Manny) Randhawa,
who operated the three-office M & K Travel, based in Fairfield,
The threesome was
arrested Nov. 7. Paul Randhawa had been on the next days ballot for
a Fairfield City Council post. He lost.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin
at [email protected].