The owner of a New York travel agency has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from members of Greater New Hope Church and Ministries in Preston who allege that they paid for a cruise that didn’t happen.
Carmela Evett Bolden of Elmsford, N.Y., owns R U Ready To Travel and is accused of collecting close to $35,000 from 17 couples at the church, said Maryland State Police. The money was intended to book their trip on Norwegian Cruise Lines, the MSP said.
The Westchester County Police Department arrested the 52-year-old Bolden on July 6 after church members went to authorities to report that the cruise line had not received payment for the trip. Bolden was extradited to Maryland, then released on a $5,000 bond after an initial court appearance in Caroline County, said MSP.
A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 10 in Caroline County District Court, said MSP.
According to police, church members made monthly payments toward the trip using certified checks. Payments were made to Bolden between December 2015 and September 2016, MSP said.
A state police investigation determined that Bolden had cashed the checks that totaled $34,859, although the cruise line had not received any payments.
In August 2016, Bolden told a church representative that a “problem” with initial reservations led her to book new reservations, MSP said. Norwegian however informed church members that new reservations had not been made and that no payments had been received toward the earlier reservations.
According to the Better Business Bureau, several separate complaints have been filed against R U Ready To Travel, said MSP.
Anyone with information about the company or suspect should contact their local MSP barrack.
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