Travel agent ordered to sell house to repay victims of theft

A former travel agent from New Jersey has been ordered to sell his house and car to pay restitution to 20 customers who paid him for a Mediterranean cruise that never happened.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office says a judge told Ellis Hester that she should have sent him to prison.

The 58-year-old Gibbstown resident pleaded guilty to theft in 2011 for taking money for a cruise but never providing it.

He was supposed to pay $400 a month to the victims but stopped paying last year, saying he could not afford it.

The judge says he must sell his house, valued at $260,000, and his 1998 Mercedes to make good on the $41,000 he still owes the victims.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.