Bryan Cohen Aug. 14, 2013, 7:24pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced a lawsuit Wednesday against two former Bloomfield-based travel companies and their principals for allegedly failing to provide $1 million in paid-for travel packages.

Crown Travel Services Inc., doing business as Club ABC Tours, ABC Destinations LLC, and their owners and operators, Robert Paris and Thomas Paris, allegedly accepted $1,033,245.39 from 230 customers and failed to deliver the overseas travel arrangements customers paid for in advance. In some alleged instances, customers found themselves stranded in Europe after learning the defendants failed to pay for lodging and other accommodations for which they had pre-paid.

"The two brothers who owned and operated these travel companies allegedly kept their business afloat by using money from new customers, to pay for trips booked by previous customers," Hoffman said. "When this scheme inevitably fell apart, hundreds of customers lost more than $1 million. These victims deserve protection. The state will use its full authority in an effort to recover the money they lost."

Hoffman and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit against the Paris brothers, alleging they continued to sell the travel packages even though their companies were insolvent and were months behind in paying their bills. The defendants allegedly violated New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act and Advertising Regulations. The lawsuit requests that the court order the disgorgement of all funds and property acquired through illegal actions, refunds of any money paid for memberships effective after the companies closed Oct. 1 and civil penalties of up to $10,000 for a first violation and $20,000 for subsequent violations.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants have yet to provide refunds to any consumers who paid by check.

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