A Victorian couple who booked a $40,000 Mediterranean cruise has been left in the lurch after their travel agent allegedly disappeared with their money.
Heather and Mike Green are just one of 50 clients who of John Dittloff from Ace Travel in Colac in Western Victoria.
The incident comes after the Victorian Government shut down the state’s travel compensation fund, which would have given redress to travellers who are defrauded by their travel agents.
The Greens were set to depart on their dream holiday in July but discovered that their tour was never booked and they did not buy any travel insurance.
They had paid Mr Dittloff the full amount in March.
Ms Green told The Herald Sun that they are ‘devastated’ after finding out they were not on an Emirates passenger list to Europe.
“He’s basically robbed me. We’ve dealt with him on a few other trips over the years and never had a problem,” she said.
“Up until last week he was looking me in the eye and told me there was just one train leg left for him to book. We just can’t believe it. It puts a real sour taste in my mouth.”
Also among the victims, a Scouts group of 32 who paid $30,000 for a trip to Fiji as part of a community-building project in a remote village and a group of year 12 students paying of $6000 for a schoolies trip in the Gold Coast.
Mr Dittloff was reportedly last seen at the travel agency on Friday and the travel agency was closed over the weekend.
Detective Senior Constable Chris Potter from the Colac Crime Investigation Unit said they had been flooded with complaints.
“There’s concerns by his clients about fraudulent activity and we are looking into that.”
Mr Dittloff’s family reported him missing on Monday and police do not suspect foul play.
Police are looking at flight records and his social media accounts have been shut down.