Bad travel agency? Team 10 looks into complaints

Police looking for more victims

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - Team 10 is looking into complaints the owner of a National City travel agency took thousands of dollars from customers and never purchased plane tickets.

Nanette Gutierrez told Team 10 she gave Ernesto "Nesty" Arbulante $7,500 for five tickets to the Philippines. Arbulante is the owner of Elvie's Boutique and Travel on East 8th Street in National City.

Gutierrez was going to visit family and friends.

"He was so nice," said Gutierrez. "My husband knew him. My friends used him before."

She said he would only accept cash when she paid him in February.

Gutierrez and her family went to the airport June 12 and flew to Manila. She said their bags were checked incorrectly, which cost them an extra $120. That would soon be the least of their worries.

When Gutierrez went to fly home, she said she learned Arbulante only bought three of the five tickets needed to get back, and then she could not reach him.

She had to pay more than $2,300 for two additional tickets for her sons to fly home.

"I never thought he would do that to people," Gutierrez said.

She said she paid for the tickets in February. The airline clerk told her the plane tickets were not purchased by Arbulante until June 12, 2014, the morning they left.

"I got sick because of stress," said Gutierrez.

National City police said 10 people have come forward with similar stories. They are investigating Arbulante.

Investigator Tom Di Zinno of the National City Police Department was at the business when Team 10 went to find Arbulante.

"I'm posting a notice for anyone who has been a victim of fraud to come forward and give us information about these transactions," said Di Zinno.

Di Zinno taped a flyer to the door with his information.

He said police responded to a call about people fighting in the parking lot.

It turned out to be an upset customer who wanted his plane tickets or money from Arbulante.

"It looks like he was pocketing the money and not actually buying the tickets," said Di Zinno.

Police started asking questions and found more victims.

"We have 10 people who claim to have been defrauded. We are up to about $10,000 in claims," said Di Zinno.

If you are a victim of fraud contact Investigator Tom Di Zinno of the National City Police Department at 619-336-4473.

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