Toronto’s Dominic Daly convicted of operating without registration

Esna Travel, Executive Worldwide charged and convicted

TORONTO – TICO has announced several new convictions, including one that resulted in “the most comprehensive restitution paid to consumers.”

Esna Travel, Rollah Zahir, and Ghulam Mustafa Wahabi all pled guilty and were convicted of crimes contrary to the Travel Industry Act, 2002. In November 2014, TICO began receiving complaints from consumers who booked 2014 Hajj Tour Packages with 1176630 Ontario Inc. o/a Esna Travel and Tours (Esna Travel), Wahabi or Zahir. Consumers made cash and cheque payments but failed to receive travel services.

Esna Travel was registered as a travel agent and travel wholesaler until Jan. 18, 2016 when it voluntarily terminated its registration. Wahabi and Zahir have never been registered as travel agents. All three operated in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario.

TICO laid charges against all parties involved, which the organization said was a “complex prosecution” that ended with consumers receiving the most comprehensive restitution. All consumers who made a claim to the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund were reimbursed in full. A total of $290,100 was reimbursed to consumers through the Fund, Esna Travel and Wahabi. The Fund paid $142,300, of which $50,000 will be recovered through the restitution paid by Zahir.

Esna Travel pled guilty and was convicted of one count of failing to keep customer funds in the trust account contrary to section 27(6) of Ontario Regulation 26/05 made under the Travel Industry Act, 2002, and one count of carrying on business with Rollah Zahir, who was required to be registered as a travel agent. Charges against Shakrukh Teherany and Suraiya Teherany, directors and officers of Esna Travel, were withdrawn. Esna Travel was fined in the amount of $7,500 plus Victim Surcharge Fees (VSF), per count, for a total of $18,750 for both counts, and was ordered to pay restitution to consumers in the amount of $93,800.

Rollah Zahir pled guilty and was convicted of one count of operating as a travel agent without registration and was fined $15,000 plus VFS, for a total of $18,750. Zahir is under Probation Order for two years (started Nov. 3, 2016) with the condition that he not be employed in the travel industry in any capacity, and that he not sell, solicit or counsel for the purpose of selling, or contract for the purpose of purchase and sale of travel services from any travel agent or wholesaler in Ontario. He was also ordered to pay restitution to The Fund a total of $50,000, pursuant to the Free Standing Restitution Order issued by the Court.

Ghulam Mustafa Wahabi has pled guilty and was convicted of one count of operating as a travel agent without registration, and was fined in the amount of $8,000 plus VFS, for a total of $10,000. He must also pay restitution to consumers who paid for travel services not provided in the amount of $54,000.

In a separate case, 501159 Ontario Limited o/a Executive Worldwide Travel (Executive Worldwide) and Zakaria Sheikh each pled guilty and were convicted of two counts of failing to hold consumer funds in trust.

Sheikh was fined in the amount of $7,000, plus VSF, for a total of $8,750 and was placed on Probation Order for two years. His sentence also included Free Standing Restitution of $39,735.38 payable to TICO.

Executive Worldwide’s sentence included restitution in the amount of Cdn$13,656.77 and US$2,290.85 payable to TICO, and a fine of $5,000 per count for a total of $10,000, plus VSF.

Sheikh was Manager and President of Executive Worldwide, a registered travel agent under the Act, which voluntarily terminated its registration effective July 13, 2015. The Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund paid $56,390.10 to reimburse consumers who paid Executive Worldwide for travel services not provided.

Sheikh and Executive Worldwide operated in Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario.