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RANCHO PALOS VERDES : Travel Agent Sentenced, Told to Repay Clients

Capping a four-year case, a travel agent who bilked South Bay residents of more than $450,000 and in many cases wrecked vacation plans has been sentenced to three months in county jail, put on five years probation and ordered to partially repay her former clients.

But the attorney for travel agent Karen Sue Reindl of San Pedro says his client probably will have difficulty making restitution because she is broke. And one Lomita resident defrauded by Reindl doubts she will ever recoup any of her ticket money.

“You know the old saying, ‘Getting away with murder?’ ” said Nell Fernandez, who lost out on a 50th wedding anniversary cruise to Alaska with about 65 friends and relatives because of the scam. “That’s what she did."In October, Reindl plead no contest to 13 charges of grand theft for misusing about $475,000 in trip deposits. She also agreed to repay clients a total of $150,904, or one-third of the money they lost. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge handed down the rest of Reindl’s sentence last Thursday.

The abrupt 1991 closure of Reindl’s Rancho Palos Verdes agency, Apollo Travel, provoked widespread anger among spurned vacation-goers and spawned a support group called Victims of Apollo Travel.

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The terms of Reindl’s probation prohibit her from owning a travel agency for five years, but she may work as a travel agent.

Reindl, 49, could not be reached for comment.

Deputy Public Defender John Powers, who represented Reindl, expected her to continue working as a travel agent in order to repay her former clients.

“That’s really her only skill and source of a livelihood,” he said.

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