Cruise Bruise

Barbara Karen Herrington
DBA Southern Travel Charged With Travel Agent Fraud

March 27, 2008

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Barbara Karen Herrington
DBA Southern Travel Charged With Travel Agent Fraud

March 27, 2008

Barbara Karen Herrington, AKA Lisa Mathias, originally from Michigan, operating a travel agency in North Carolina was arrested after turning herself in to police investigating a travel agency fraud scheme.

Herrington, age 42, is facing 59 counts for various charges including felony theft, theft of a value of more than $500 and identity theft.

Herrington was arrested and charged with six counts of felony financial identity fraud and one count of writing a worthless check after a Georgia woman claimed there was an unauthorized $1,000 charge on her credit card.

Police say one woman had a $1,000 deposit charged to her card in October for a Hawaiian cruise. Days later, more than $1,300 was charged to her card at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord.

Other victims say their credit card was used to pay a storage and moving van company, but their cruise was never paid for.

Police say there are hundreds of victims, many thinking they were taking a Norwegian Cruise Lines Hawaiian cruise, had their credit cards charged, but were unable to sail because they no reservations, or reservations were canceled because the balance due on the cruises was not paid.

Southern Travel owned by Herrington is based in Mooresville, North Carolina according to court documents. Yellow pages directory listing identifies the business contact information as Southern Travel LLC 181 North Main Street Mooresville, NC 28115-2525 Phone: (704) 660-7804. However, other reports say the office was located at 179 Gasoline Alley in Morresville, North Carolina.

Herrington also owned a North Carolina bridal business, Southern Bridal. But, that was not the first bridal company she owned, see below.

Herrington had offered vacations for $1025 that included roundtrip air fare from Baltimore, Maryland, two nights and three days at a hotel with a rental car in addition to the Hawaiian cruise.

Ms Herrington promoted the package saying customers only had to put down $500 to book the holiday, they pay the balance within 30 days of departure. When customers tried to confirm their reservations with the cruise line, they had none.

Herrington’s version of events, according to her attorney, was that cruises got overbooked and some people didn’t get to go on the trips they’d planned to.

Police say credit card numbers collected in the scheme were used for a variety of purchases, including NASCAR tickets and trips for Herrington and others.

Police also say Herrington had convictions for obtaining property by false pretense, felony worthless checks and worthless checks on a closed account in North Carolina, and a pending charge in Michigan for fraudulent activities.

Norwegian Cruise Line officials estimate the company has lost about $250,000 because of people canceling trips set up with Southern Travel, Blocker said.

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