FROM: Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer   CONTACT PERSON: Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer (408) 792-2997   For release on January 29, 2008   DISTRICT ATTORNEY FILES CHARGES FOR MILLION DOLLAR TRAVEL AGENCY FRAUD   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has filed 13 felony charges against 67-year old Joseph Maloof and 14 felony counts against 54-year old Ron Hansen. The two are charged with defrauding their travel agency clients of more than one million dollars during 2004 and 2005. Maloof owned and operated JM Travel Selections and ITS International Tours, and Hansen owned and operated International Grand Tours.   Maloof was arraigned on Monday, but Hansen remains at large.   The defendants received more than one million dollars from customers for travel services that they never provided, and they failed to make refunds as required by California law.  The victims include travel groups making religious pilgrimages, as well as educational groups of students and teachers. Because some of the customers were more than 65 years of age, the defendants also face enhanced charges of Theft or Embezzlement from an Elder, a violation of Penal Code section 368(d).   The case came to the District Attorney’s attention as a result of numerous complaints from travel customers. The case was jointly investigated by the California Attorney General and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.   If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to state prison. In addition, both defendants could be ordered to make restitution to their victims.   Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Consumer Intake at (408) 792-2880.   ###

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