Detectives arrested a brother and sister who owned San Fernando Travel this morning, November 1, 2012, after a 3-month-long investigation that amounted to grand theft and auto insurance fraud.
“They should have called their business No-Go Travel because if you bought a trip or insurance from the Ramirez clan you weren’t going anywhere,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “Worst of all, their victims were their own neighbors who worked so hard and saved so long for the small trips they would purchase.”
One victim, Eustoria Rodriguez, purchased a trip to Mexico City to get away after the death of her baby. She paid $1,500 for a travel voucher that turned out to be worthless. Another victim, Irsa Cuarto, bought a trip and car insurance for her daughter. Only after the daughter was in an accident, they discovered the policy had not been paid by the Ramirezes.
Armed with warrants, detectives arrested Adriana Ramirez, 44, and her brother, Carlos H. Ramirez, 41, this morning, then served search warrants on the siblings’ homes.
The pair has sold the trips and insurance out of a store front in North Hills for at least five years, but they locked the doors about one month ago. “We expect there are many more victims out there, and we’d like them to come forward,” Lt. Vernon explained. “And anyone who may have purchased car insurance through these two people should verify their policy is real.”
Detectives have identified 30 victims so far, some cases going back to 2009. Losses are estimated at $30,000 and expected to go higher as other victims come forward.
Adriana and Carlos Ramirez live in separate residences in Sylmar and Santa Clarita. San Fernando Travel is located at 15244 Parthenia Street, Panorama City. The Ramirezes are being booked for Grand Theft at the Mission Police Station. Their bail has not been set.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective William Cooper, Mission Burglary Unit, at (818) 838-9866. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
Detectives have identified three victims who are willing to be interviewed by media. All 3 speak Spanish, and only Irsa Castro speaks English.