Wendy Wong, a former Milpitas resident, was convicted last week of felony crimes for collecting more than $200,000 to book flights and other travel services for dozens of South Bay residents that she never arranged.
Wong ran a business called House of Aloha Hawaii, which came to an end in August 2019 as a long line of victims came forward to report their ruined vacation plans and missing money, according to a press release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Wong pleaded no contest in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Aug. 23 to two felony violations for failing to return money for travel services not provided and for illegally withdrawing funds from client trust accounts. Sentencing is set for Nov. 4.
Prosecutors said that if Wong pays the $155,000 in restitution requested by victims, she will not serve a jail sentence but will be on felony probation for 2 years. If she does not pay restitution, she will receive a 2-year sentence, consisting of one year in county jail and one year of mandatory supervision.
“The defendant abused her position of trust and disrupted the lives of many families in our community,” Deputy District Attorney Tamalca Harris said in a statement. “We are grateful to the victims who came forward.”
The case was investigated by the District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Unit.
Sellers of travel in California are required to register with the Attorney General, but Wong was not registered with the office, according to prosecutors.
To find out if a person is legitimately registered as a seller of travel, consumers can check online at https://oag.ca.gov/travel. While registration does not assure that a person selling travel services is reputable, a valid registration is a sign that the person or their company is not operating under the radar.