A Whitby, Ontario woman has been accused of impersonating a travel agent and fraudulently selling $245,000 worth of vacations while using over 20 aliases.
The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) collaborated with Durham Police on their criminal investigation, which began in October 2020. The police service said it received reports that an allegedly bogus travel agent was “kiting” — a common form of travel industry fraud where an agent collected cash payments from clients and pockets the money instead of booking trips.
Officers allege that 43-year-old Tarcia Craig Brown owns a travel business called Travel Girl Inc.
They allege that the criminal activity happened between 2011 and 2019 and involved several different travel agencies.
It is alleged that Brown falsified a TICO Certificate to gain employment at TICO registered travel agencies and then engaged in fraudulent activities. She faces a variety of charges, including four counts of fraud exceeding $5,000.
In January 2020, TICO alerted the industry to the alleged conduct of Brown and the known aliases at the time that had been allegedly used to secure employment.
TICO says that if there are any registrants or consumers who were impacted by the alleged conduct who have not already contacted TICO or the Durham Regional Police, they are encouraged to contact: [email protected] and Detective Constable Middleton of the Financial Crimes Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ex. 5321.
Travel agencies are reminded that TICO certification indicates only that someone has completed either the travel counselor and/or supervisor/manager exam successfully. Certificates are not an indication of past good conduct. Under provincial legislation, the Travel Industry Act, 2002, only businesses are registered with TICO, while individuals are not.
TICO says travel agencies are encouraged to always exercise due diligence during the hiring process, including background and reference checks. They can also review the charges and convictions section on TICO’s website.
For more information about the arrest and charges related to Tarcia Craig Brown and the list of aliases, click here. For a list of aliases used by Brown, click here.