Wednesday 25 November 2015

GUAM: Air Travel Scam Suspect Released

Frances Marie Manglona Quinata

Frances Marie Manglona Quinata charged with theft by deception

A 54-year-old woman facing a theft charge in connection with an alleged travel scam has been released without having to post bail.

Authorities said she's also under investigation in connection with a similar scam involving a Guam girls' softball team.

Frances Marie "Fran" ManglonaQuinata turned herself in — twice — before police announced her arrest Monday, said defense attorney Howard Trapp.

Superior Court Judge Alberto Tolentino approved Quinata's release on personal bond, which means she owes the court $5,000 if she doesn't show up at her next hearing, Trapp said.

A complaint filed Tuesday against Quinata, a Yona resident, charges her with "theft by deception" involving two Guam residents who allegedly were stranded in Texas because the money they paid Quinata for round-trip tickets from Guam to Texas and back covered only one-way air fares, a magistrate's complaint states.

"The defendant is also currently under investigation for stealing approximately $38,000.00 from the Guam Girls Fast Pitch Softball Team in a similar scheme," a local prosecutor, Christine Santos Tenorio, stated in a declaration filed with the complaint.

The complaint doesn't state how the travelers ended up paying Quinata for airline tickets.

When asked about the defendant's occupation, Trapp said his client was in the travel agency business, but even after she no longer had that job, she still received requests by certain people, including police officers, for help with their flight arrangements.

Quinata received $2,308 from the two Guam residents who were promised round-trip tickets between Guam and Texas, the complaint states.

The two island residents who paid Quinata for their airfare on United Airlines departed to Texas on July 10, 2015, the complaint states. On July 19, 2015, the two residents attempted to return to Guam, but were told by United agents that the return ticket had not been paid for, the complaint states.

Quinata allegedly stopped responding to inquiries about the return ticket, so the two Guam residents had to purchase separate one-way tickets back to Guam. The two Guam residents were unable to depart Texas until July 31, the complaint states.

Quinata's attorney couldn't comment on the merits of the case because ethical rules forbid him from doing so until after the case is resolved.

Trapp also said the first time Quinata turned herself in to the Guam Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division, after reading her name in some local media outlets, the detective who spoke to her was unaware police needed to talk to her, Trapp said.

The girls' softball team of 14 girls and a large group of their parents, originally intended to leave July 31 but found out at the airport their airfare hadn't been paid. The team was able to leave to Delaware two days later to represent Guam in the 2015 Little League World Series senior softball division. The division is for ages 13-16 years old.

The majority of travel costs for players and coaches was later paid by Little League International, and the Guam Little League covered the rest of the cost.

No comments: