EXCLUSIVE: Travel booker accused of making off with Bay Area clients' money faces 47 felony charges

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Bay Area travel booker faces 47 felony charges
Wendy Susan Tenedora Wong, a House of Aloha Hawaii travel booker accused of taking thousands of dollars from Bay Area residents, then never booking their vacations, is now facing criminal charges. The ABC7 News I-Team has an exclusive update on the case.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A House of Aloha Hawaii travel booker accused of taking thousands of dollars from Bay Area residents, then never booking their vacations, is now facing criminal charges. Wendy Susan Tenedora Wong has been arraigned on 47 felony counts.

ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow has the update on a story we first brought you nearly two years ago that you'll see Only On 7.

Danny and Celia Vasquez had a great time with their extended family in Mexico, but it wasn't the trip they'd originally planned.

RELATED: Wendy Wong of House of Aloha Hawaii responds to vacation booking allegations

That trip never happened after they say travel booker Wendy Susan Tenedora Wong told them last minute their flights were canceled.

"I was really pissed off because there was 22 of us," said Danny Vasquez.

Celia Vasquez saved one of Wong's voicemails. She played it for the I-Team.

"Crazy, crazy weather right now and it's making everything adjust and so there's like a lot of cancelations," says Wong in the voicemail.

"I kept asking her about the refund, she kept saying 'oh it's coming it's coming' and then finally she just broke all communication," said Celia Vasquez.

Soon the Vasquez family learned they weren't alone. In 2019, ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow spoke with dozens of Wong's clients who all had similar stories.

I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Parents of House of Aloha Hawaii travel booker Wendy Wong say Bay Area native took their money too

"I wish we never crossed paths with her," Rachel Nisperos told the I-Team in August of 2019.

"I don't know how someone has the heart and soul to do this," Nicole Brown told the I-Team in August of 2019.

The Milpitas Police Department and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office opened an investigation. Now Wong is facing 47 felony counts -- 45 of them for failing to refund her clients' money for trips she booked but didn't provide and two felony counts for withdrawing money from a business account that she didn't use to pay for travel.

"This rises to the level of felony conduct," said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tamalca Harris.

"We're talking about 45 victims who have lost over $100,000," said Harris.

Victims like the Marr family. "I just felt really betrayed," said Maria Marr.

"We trusted her and then our friends trusted us and pretty soon it snowballed and everybody felt crushed," said Julius Marr Jr.

Jennifer Sioxson discovered Wong hadn't really paid for her Hawaiian vacation while she was in Hawaii.

"Myself and my whole family were left without a hotel. I had to pay for my hotel again when I was there," said Sioxson.

Wong told Sioxson she'd pay her back.

RELATED: House of Aloha Hawaii permanently closes with investigation underway

"She was a family friend, our kids are friends, she's hosted my kids at her house many times, so you know it's just, I thought she'd come around," said Sioxson.

But Wong never did. Now she might have to. If found guilty, a part of Wong's sentence would include a restitution request.

"You reap what you sow. I mean all these people put their trust in her and their money," said Sioxson.

"I think it's great, it sounds like justice is going to be served," said Julius Marr Jr.

Wong pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In an email, Wong's attorney tells the I-Team, "We have no comment at this time."

The Santa Clara County DA's Office still wants to hear from any of Wong's clients who are owed money. They've set up a dedicated email travelcomplaint@dao.sccgov.org

The DA's Office recommends that anyone who lives outside of Santa Clara County contact their local law enforcement office first to file a report.

Take a look at more stories and videos by the ABC7 News I-Team.