Travel agent’s trial date vacated as defense looks at options

The Fallon (Fallon is a city in Churchill County, located in western Nevada, United States) travel agent accused of embezzling money from more than 30 people had her scheduled trial date of Sept. 15 vacated Tuesday morning.

Cynthia Lea Holland-Taylor, 60, is charged with 36 crimes, including 16 counts of embezzlement, 16 counts of use of a personal identification and two counts fraud of credit.

District Judge David Huff set a Sept. 2 status hearing with Holland-Taylor in which she could change her plea again.

District Attorney Art Mallory said his office is not changing its position, but added the defense is re-evaluating the case and the not guilty plea.

Mallory said the state wants Holland-Taylor – if convicted Ð to be sent to the Nevada State Prison for the crimes.

He said the eliminated trial date leads him to believe there is a good possibility Holland-Taylor will enter a plea on Sept. 12. If she does not, a new trial date would have to be scheduled.

While the jury trial was scheduled for Sept. 15-26, her attorney, Paul Drakulich has said he doubted the case would go to trial, adding he thought there would be a resolution before then.

The charges against Holland-Taylor stem from her business, Cindy’s Travel Unlimited, in which she allegedly double-billed some customers and took payments for tickets never purchased.

She allegedly received $19,000 in tickets from Blue Sky Travel but never paid for them.

Holland-Taylor is also charged with issuing a bad check, which carries a prison sentence of one to four years and a $5,000 fine.

The embezzlement charges carry penalties of one to 10 years in the Nevada State Prison on each count, and the sentences would double for any victim who is an elderly person. According to the application for the arrest warrant, many of the alleged victims are more than 60 years old.

Obtaining and using false identities of others carries a sentence up to 20 years in the Nevada State Prison and a $100,000 fine, while the fraudulent credit card offenses carry a sentence of one to six years on each

Holland-Taylor remains free on a bail of $167,500.

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Only chance of recovery of the student’s fees from ASA is……………….

Hello ASA students,

First off, I’d like to express my sincere sympathy for those students stranded by the recent ASA fiasco and wish you all the early arrival of meaningful assistance to alleviate the current enduring hardship. I have no personal stake in this ordeal and neither lost nor gained anything from this occurrence. Nevertheless I can’t stop being indignant about both Prince and Reny of their incompetence and deceit whichever the characterization is appropriate that brought to cause a current plight onto those young aspiring Indian students.

In as much as I’d like to believe that Prince and Reny stashed away a sizable amount of cash somewhere as some still like to speculate or believe and therefore there’s some chance of recovery of their prepaid fees, it pains me to tell you all such chances to exist is literally infinitesimal if not nonexistent.

I know it’s easier said than done but give it a rest on a hope of recovery by a means of law suit. In the Breach of Contract case such as this, you will most likely prevail in the court and obtain a judgment. But think about it, what good is it that the judgment that can collect nothing from the defaulting party. A writ of execution issued from the court is just a useless paper of no value. Remember no one wins in a law suit except lawyers. (been there, done that, fought an airport use permit issue against a county ordinance in the US Federal Court and won the battle but lost the war in the end after consuming 3 years and $150K in legal fees, .a Pyrrhic victory indeed.

Judging from the reported size of operation,(110 students, 43 instructors, 40 aircraft) the monthly operating cost could be anywhere from $225k to $250k/mo. or more to keep that size of operation going. Remember ASA did not have $4.4 mil in a lump sum cash to start with. It’s an accumulative total revenue over the time they were in business. Unless they had an sufficient operating capital set aside which I doubt, their monthly operating expenses were entirely relied on one source; student fees. There’re good months with some surplus fund left and there’re some bad months with an insufficient amount of income even to cover the monthly overhead. It’s highly probable that ASA needed at minimum 4 to 5 new students to keep its doors open. All fees collected from the students were all spent long since and I bet they’re just scraping by from month to month with a hope of someday getting ahead with an arrival of new enrollment group consisting of substantial number of students. Unfortunately, that day never came and the KFA fallout was the last straw. And while they were still at it, the problems started to pile up one after another. It probably started with a minor student’s complain and then rapidly growing to many issues that eventually raised red flags and invited all kinds of government scrutinies from all directions FAA, County’s office, IRS, FTA (Calif. State Franchise Tax Board) and all. Despite less than honorable character references made about both Prince and Reny in many posts, I doubt they had planned this outcome from the beginning. It’s a case of pure incompetence and mismanagement. They had somehow managed to slip their foot in the door and pried open the business opportunity just in time to ride the surging tide of pilot shortages beginning to be faced by the Indian airlines.

Some of you already know about another flight school closure earlier this year which draws some parallels to the events at ASA in the order of far greater magnitude.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_State_Helicopters

Silver State Helicopter (SSH) school headquartered in Las Vegas closed abruptly by filing Chapter 7 leaving 2,500 students out to the street. They operated over 250 helicopters at over 40 schools nationwide in the US. All students prepaid $70,000 each for their training fees. A Class action suit is pending in the Nevada Court and the lawyers are having field days. Good lawyers can compose an opposing lawyer’s argument before composing his own and they are very good and capable indeed and naturally they command high fees most can’t afford.

The only chance of recovery of the student’s fees from ASA is by naming KFA along with banks and lending institutions as co-defendant on the premise that they too are culpable for the damages sustained by those entrusting students. Their failure to perform proper audit and due diligence on the flight school led to the demise of the program today otherwise succeeded. This premise has a much greater chance of succeeding and the judgement amount of $5 mil range plus legal expenses has far more chances of collection from KFA and the Indian lending institutions involved than nonexistent collection probability from the duo Prince and Reny.

Now sit tight and think hard about the good advices offered in the Capt. Kishore’s post and begin to make a check list of your own action plan and proceed to follow thru on it one by one. BTW, make sure to insist on a kind of insurance policy like the one mentioned in the navdeev’s post if you’re fortunate enough to take out another loan again.

Before too long, you’ll be out of the soup and turbulence and you’ll be back cruising in the smooth blue skies again. How do I know this? Well I went through the similar ordeals few times myself since my first arrival in the US in 1968 from Asia and got my ATP, A&P, MEI, AD and few more ratings and pursued my aviation career until my semi-retirement from flight duties few years ago. Well, that’s my two cents. Hang tight and never ever give up your goal.
All the best.

Echo Yankee, Real identity not revealed……

Stranded Indian Medical students in China are being flown home by Air India

Dozens of Indian medical students who have been stranded in China after buying fake air tickets are being flown home, officials from Air India say.

The airline flew 12 of the students back to India on Monday.

Many students returning to India on holiday were left stranded in Beijing and other parts of China after they learnt their tickets were bogus.

Indian papers reported on Monday that the students were allegedly duped by a Bangladeshi travel agent.

The papers said that one of the students had filed a complaint with the Beijing police.

According to a press release by Air India the airline would bring all the students back to India in the next two to three days.

“We have been approached by at least 30 students so far who are being brought back to India on regular flights from Beijing,” said Prasad Rao, spokesman from Air India.

On Sunday Emirates Airways and Malaysian Airlines were reported not to have accepted the students’ e-tickets on the grounds that they were fake. They were prevented from boarding their flights.

Air India says more than 15 students are flying back on Tuesday and a batch of 20 will be put on a flight to India on Wednesday.

Mr Rao said they were giving priority to the stranded students but he said they were helping only those who were coming forward for help.

He clarified that the travel was not free and students were paying $631 (27,000 rupees) each, which is 15% less than the fares charged by other airlines.

Hundreds of Indian students travel to China and Russia to study medicine rather than sit stringent entrance tests in India.

Most of the students were studying in specialized ultrasound school. Being highly demanding carrier, ultrasound school are very much in demand all over the world.

Bangladeshi Travel Agent duped 154 Indian Medical Students in China

Chinese police have sealed the house of an absconding Bangladeshi agent, accused of duping 154 Indian medical students by selling them fake tickets for flights to India.

Indian embassy officials had requested the police to investigate the case after the students studying in Chongqing, Nanjing and Suzhou medical universities who had booked E-tickets through the agent Mohammed Jabbar Miyan for Emirates and Malaysian airlines were turned back at the airport.

The students, several of whom knew Miyan, were to return home to India for summer vacation to Hyderabad from Shanghai, Chongqing and Suzhou.

They had booked the tickets attracted by cheap fares and transferred the money to the account of Miyan, who is now absconding, sources said. The Bangladesh embassy said there was no record in the Bangladeshi community list to confirm the existence of Miyan.

Sources at the Indian embassy said they have written to the police to investigate the case.

Miyan’s residence had been sealed. The police had also been requested to take measures for freezing the bank accounts of Miyan, they said.

The Emirates and Malaysian airlines had also been contacted seeking information, they said.

A group of students who had booked tickets through the same agent had left but the problem surfaced on July 11 when another batch of 34 was refused boarding pass in shanghai in eastern China by the Emirates airlines whose staff told them that they need to produce credit cards.

The agent had booked the tickets with his card but the money had not reached the emirates airlines. Officials at the Indian embassy and the consulate in shanghai were in touch with the Emirates and Malaysian airlines on the issue.

Air India had been requested to accommodate the students on a priority basis to facilitate the travel of students for vacation after the final exams, they said.

According to sources, out of 154 students, 20 had reached India and nine others managed to get the refund, while the rest are struggling to make the trip and get their money back.

Over 7,000 Indian medical students are studying in Chinese universities.

Tensions run high in Seoul as South Korean tourist dies

Seoul has condemned the killing of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean soldier, saying it cannot be justified, and demanding access to investigate the tragedy.

Pyongyang has expressed regret but refused to apologise over the death of the 53-year-old woman, who was shot twice after straying into a military zone during a dawn beach stroll at a North Korean resort.

“Whatever the reason may be, it cannot be justified,” the South Korean government said Sunday, urging the North to cooperate with an investigation after Pyongyang refused access to the scene of the shooting.

“It is the position of our government and people that the reason and truth should be thoroughly revealed because this is a grave issue concerning the life and safety of an innocent civilian,” Seoul said in a statement.

“We urge North Korea to take responsible steps so that such an incident should not repeated.”

South Korea has suspended tours to the scenic east coast resort of Mount Kumgang, opened in 1998 as a symbol of reconciliation, and the tragedy has heightened tensions between the two neighbours.

The North described the suspension of tours, which have earned it millions of dollars over the years, as an “intolerable insult” and said it would refuse to accept South Korean tourists until it received an apology.

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-Bak condemned the killing, while North Korea blamed the South for the incident.

The North said the tourist had gone “beyond the clearly marked boundary fence” and intruded deep into the military-controlled area.

It said she fled when challenged and did not stop even when the soldier discharged warning shots, forcing him to open fire.

There is lot of Controversy also going on over the exact time of killing. According to the witnesses, South Korean tourist was shot at a North Korean resort at 5:20 a.m., not 4:50 a.m., as North Korea had claimed earlier.

“I heard the gunshots when I came out of Haegeumgang Hotel and went to the beachside for a walk,” Yonhap News quoted the witness identified only as Lee as saying.

Park Wang-ja, a 53-year-old South Korean female, was shot dead early Friday by an unidentified number of North Korean soldiers during her visit to the Mt. Geumgang resort on the east coast of North Korea. She had been taking a pre-dawn stroll on a beach near the resort before she was shot.

Lee was on a separate organized tour of Mt. Geumgang with Park, as Park stayed at a different hotel, called Beach Hotel. The distance between the two hotels is a 10-minute walk, Yonhap reported quoting South Korean authorities.

North Korea claimed that the woman crossed deep into a fenced-off military area, but fled toward her hotel when the soldier ordered her to halt. The communist country said she was killed at 4:50 a.m.

“I came out of the hotel where I was staying at 5:00 a.m. and came back at 5:40. I walked the esplanade at an even speed, so I think it was around 5:20.
“The sun had already come up. When I went back to the hotel, the tour guide told me, ‘It is a sunny day.'”

Another witness, Lee In-bok, said last week he heard two gunshots and a scream five to 10 minutes after seeing a middle-aged woman dressed in black strolling along the beach early Friday.