CHICAGO (CBS) – Two southwest suburban families say a travel agent took their money, then botched their trips to Disney World.
Well, it’s a small world after all, because CBS 2 has told you about the agent before. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory spoke with more than 10 customers missing tens of thousands of dollars for vacations that went wrong.
Victory: “You saved for this trip?”
Carina Tuminello: “I did.”
Tuminello’s reason? Her son, who celebrated his fifth birthday with his Alsip family at Disney World.
“He kept asking, ‘Is it 10 more days? Is it five more days? Are we going tomorrow?'” Tuminello said.
Getting to the Magic Kingdom took some magic mom patience, because the cost of vacation blew up from $4,000 to $13,000. The problems began at Midway Airport. The family had a stressful check-in that Tuminello blamed squarely on travel agent Maysoon Nasir.
“We start putting in the confirmation numbers into the kiosk, and it kept coming up not valid,” she said. “We tried again. Not valid.”
Imagine her panic at the Southwest help desk with no plane tickets, but kids packed and pumped to meet Mickey. Nothing made sense.
Months ahead of their scheduled takeoff, Tuminello sent all the payments to Nasir and her company M&M Events and Promotions.
Tuminello played an audio message from Nasir for CBS 2 in which the agent said, “I’m going to pay you back.”
Tuminello believed the promise and bought her own flights right there at the airport. Their wallets burned again when they landed.
“I will reimburse you for everything,” Nasir said in the message to Tuminello.
In addition, invalid reservations at the hotel meant another $2,300 out of pocket for the family. They were double-paying for Disney with last-minute pricing.
“I was just not living in the moment,” Tuminello said. “I remember texting her like, ‘This is BS. What did you put me through? What is going on?'”
Still, Nasir said in the voice message, “Please know this will never happen again.”
Nasir’s promises to Tuminello sounded eerily similar to the ones Nemesio Oliva Jr. got after he called to confirm his Orlando hotel reservation. He had to tell his 5-year-old that he canceled her birthday trip to Disney because of the answer.
“I have this trip from this date to this date. Does it exist?” Oliva recalled asking. “‘No you don’t.'”
Despite a refund promise via a cashier’s check, Olivia is still more than $8,000 in the hole.
“I’m chasing my own money and I hate doing that,” Oliva said. “I don’t want to chase my money.”
Tuminello’s reimbursement also didn’t pan out, that’s unless you count a check Nasir dropped off from a closed account. It was worthless.
“The bank teller, she tells me, ‘Where did you get this check?'” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh man, what do you mean where did I get this check?'”
Oliva added, “If I go to the nearest store right now, steal the amount that she stole from me, I won’t be here. I would be charged like a felon. I have a case so, where’s her case?”
Oak Lawn police are investigating Nasir. CBS 2.
The Juggans from Chicago were outraged to find out mysterious charges to their debit card were trips Nasir booked for other customers instead of them.
VICTORY: “You still stand by that your computer made a mistake multiple times?”
NASIR: “What I said during the interview.”
Nasir was referring to what she told CBS 2 in a phone interview in June when she mentioned something that didn’t sink in until hearing from other customers wanting refunds. She said she was filing for bankruptcy.
CBS 2 checked bankruptcy records. It turned out, Nasir has filed for it seven times. Her recently reported debts include: $1,250 for a “travel package,” $1,850 for a “trip to Aruba,” and $950 for “hotel deals.”
She’s also on the hook for a consumer fraud case. A Chicago man who sued her just won a $9,300 judgment against her in June.
In July, the Better Business Bureau put an alert on the M&M Events and Promotions page, and at least 11 people have filed complaints with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. One customer written demand asked for a “refund and justice for all the people that [have] been scammed by Maysoon Nasir.”
CBS 2 went looking for Nasir again after connecting with more than 10 former customers who are out a collective $50,000 with no vacations to show for it. All had some tale about mysteriously missing reservations and other mishaps.
Nasir would only text CBS 2 this time, repeatedly referring to a refund “credit” when asked about unreturned money.
“We don’t want the credit from your company that you screwed me the first time,” Oliva said.
The trust is gone, as well as the money.
“She’s stealing from us,” Tuminello said. “And she’s stealing from people that are working so hard to actually take a vacation.”
They were robbed, at the very least, of relaxation.
How did so many people wind up buying Nasir’s travel promotion?
Many said it was the attractive pricing and some say they did take a successful trip through her company before getting burned.
Oak Lawn police said they are “exploring different angles” in terms of what Nasir can be charged with. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said they haven’t received any details about the travel agent from law enforcement.
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office said it couldn’t comment on potential legal actions.
Since then, Nasir was taken into custody Friday evening and charged the following day. She was charged with six felonies and a misdemeanor including:
- Two felony counts of identity theft
- Four felony counts of theft by deception
- One misdemeanor count of obstructing identification
Additional charges may be filed in the future as reports come in on a case-by-case basis.
She is scheduled for a bond hearing on Sunday.