Police: Radio station didn't commit fraud - WELE-AM listeners say they
didn't receive vacations
Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) -
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Author: LYDA LONGA - STAFF WRITER
There is no evidence that management
at WELE-AM radio in Ormond Beach did anything criminal when it failed to
return money to listeners who purchased tickets from a now-defunct show
that touted travel specials, police said Tuesday.
Ormond Beach police investigators
reached that conclusion after looking into allegations of fraud from at
least three listeners of the radio station who said they had been
cheated out of money they paid for travel tickets they never received,
said police spokesman Sgt. Kenny Hayes.
"We saw no criminal intent on
the part of the owner of the radio station," Hayes said Tuesday.
Police said listeners who have
not received refunds for their tickets could try to pursue the matter in
civil court. In a
letter to customers and on a recorded telephone message, station owner
Doug Wilhite announced late last month that the Premier Travel Show -
which offered travel packages at lower rates - was going off the air.
Wilhite said he and his family were strapped for cash and inundated in
debt and did not know whether WELE would continue operating.
Earlier this month, though, Wilhite
said he intended to make good on all the outstanding vacation
certificates that were bought through the travel show. The station has
been back in operation for a few weeks.
"For criminal charges to apply,
police would have to prove that agents of the radio station knowingly
sold packages that were worthless or knowingly misrepresented the
packages which resulted in monetary gain to the business," Hayes
explained this afternoon, and there was no proof of that.
"On the contrary, police
determined that the radio station did, in fact, have business
relationships with companies providing vacation accommodations or travel
services," Hayes said.
Mary Rhoads of Palm Coast, who had
been unable to take a trip that she paid $561 for, said she was able to
get a refund from her credit-card company. She is among those who
reported the problem to Ormond Beach police.
Copyright, 2008, The News-Journal