Parents of students from IES María Zambrano, with the travel agency in the background. Eugenio Cabezas
No trip, no money: travel agency owner arrested over allegedly conning at least 70 customers

No trip, no money: travel agency owner arrested over allegedly conning at least 70 customers

The amount apparently defrauded amounts to 127,000 euros, although the figure could increase, as investigators suspect that the woman is still in business

Juan Cano

Friday, 17 May 2024, 12:19


The complaints have been accumulating in recent weeks, all with similar stories: students, retirees, couples, groups of friends or newlyweds who have been left without their dream trip and without the money they had paid for it. After studying the case, the National Police have arrested the owner of the travel agency in Torre del Mar with which they had booked their holidays.

The Vélez-Málaga police station has already received a dozen reports against the owner containing the complaints of at least 70 people affected, who have been left stranded, unable to travel, and without being reimbursed - for the time being - the amounts paid as a deposit. Investigators estimate the amount allegedly defrauded to be 127,000 euros.

Information sourced by this newspaper reveals that the police arrested the owner of the Ymanme agency, located in Calle Del Río, on 8 May. The woman, 51, was handed over to the Vélez-Málaga judicial court, who released her provisionally while the investigation continues.

The victims, meanwhile, are spread throughout the province of Malaga and Granada. In Antequera alone there are 38 victims, 35 students and three teachers from an English course who were going to travel to England to improve their language skills. Their collective complaint, through the pages of this newspaper , was the starting point of the investigation. The trip should have taken place from 22 to 26 April, but the agency did not send the documentation for the journey from Malaga to London, from where they were to be transferred to Oxford, with excursions to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. The price - they paid 26,975 euros among them - included flights, bed and breakfast, transport from the airport, and excursions with guides and entrance to the castle.

The promoters of the trip contacted the company, who firstly apologised for an alleged delay on the part of the airline, secondly for an injury (broken bone) on the part of the agency manager, and thirdly for the supplier's non-compliance, says one of the teachers of the English academy of the adult education centre (CEPER), Ignacio de Toledo de Antequera.

Trip to Germany

There are another 18 people affected from the María Zambrano secdonary school in Vélez-Málaga, students and teachers who intended to travel to Frankfurt (Germany). The parents, who made their complaint public yesterday, had booked a study and exchange trip to the German city for their children, valued at 3,632 euros in total, a rate of 227 euros per person.

The departure was scheduled for Tuesday 14 May from Malaga airport. "But at eight o'clock in the morning we received a WhatsApp from the teachers saying that this woman had not sent them the tickets, that the children should stay at home, and that it seemed that they could fly mid-morning," José Jiménez, one of the parents said.

Faced with repeated non-compliance, the parents went to the travel agency, where, according to what they said, the businesswoman asked them for a margin until 7pm [on Tuesday]. "The same thing happened, she sent us a false itinerary, there were no tickets and no reservations. We distrusted her and so we went to denounce her to the National Police, he added.

Sources close to the case expressed their concern about the situation, given that investigators suspect that, after her provisional release, the woman is continuing her commercial activity, at least telematically, which could lead to new victims.

This newspaper tried to contact the business ownwe on numerous occasions on Wednesday, without success, to get her version of the allegations.

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