By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Sept. 3, 2014
NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – Shut down and nowhere in sight – a Filipino travel agency accused of swindling at least 50 customers out of tens of thousands of dollars was boarded up and wrapped in plastic tarp.
Elvie’s Travels, operated by Nestor Abulente, is accused of selling bogus airline tickets to local Filipinos.
National City business license records show that the shop, which operated inside Elvie’s Boutique, has been delinquent with the license which expired in December 31, 2012.
All that’s left at the store front is a message from the National City Police Department encouraging witnesses to contact them.
While police say Abulente is yet to be located, the number of victims has grown in the past few weeks.
Suspected travel related fraud operations, like the alleged issues at Elvie’s, have prompted the Philippine Consul General’s office to issue an advisory to warn kababayans.
The advisory encourages Filipinos in the LA Consul General’s regions to check the Better Business Bureau and local government agencies before making transactions with travel agents.
While some of the agents also offer consular services, the consulate says none of them are accredited.