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April 2004 Vol. 30, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Divers Prevail vs. Scubacan

from the April, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Long time readers of Undercurrent have seen a series of exposÚs of Scubacan, the Toronto-based tour operator that was sending American divers to Cuba without proper authorizations. Eventually, they began ripping off clients by taking their deposits and not delivering promised services. One was Harry Hanes (Tombstone, AZ) who recently wrote in, "your articles saved many divers from booking with Scubacan and becoming a victim like us."

The good news is that thanks to Hanes and other dogged victims such as Jan Pehrson (Sausalito, CA), justice is being done. They filed suits against Scubacan and brought criminal charges against the company and its principals, Keith Bolender and Antonio Avella. In January, Bolender and Avella pled guilty to acting as travel agents without being registered under Toronto's Travel Industry Act. They were each placed on probation and ordered to make restitution of more than $132,000 to Hanes, Pehrson, and other claimants.

Pehrson told Undercurrent that her group's losses have already been reimbursed. But for Hanes' claim (over $37,000), Bolender is on a payment schedule that stretches to January 2006. As a contingency in case Bolender defaults, Hanes' group has gotten a writ of seizure on his home in a Toronto suburb.

We reported in the June 2003 Undercurrent that Bolender had folded Scubacan, only to resurface doing business as Caribbean Trip N Tours. The recent judgment was against both business entities. If Bolender should pop up again in the dive travel field, a word to the wise: do not resuscitate.

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