EASTON, Md. - Maryland State Police says that they arrested a New York woman in connection with a travel agency scheme involving a church in Caroline County.
According to the report, 52-year-old Carmela Evett Bolden of Elmsford, NY, accepted $34,859 from Greater New Hope Church and Ministries, in Preston, for payment toward a couples cruise. Authorities say Bolden, owner of R U Ready To Travel, accepted the payment installments that were meant for a couples cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines, between December 2015 and September 2016. Troopers say that 17 couples, a total of 34 church members, paid Bolden to book the cruise.
After further investigation, officials say that on August 28, 2016 Bolden sent an email to a church representative stating that she received the final payment for the cruise. Through examining Bolden's and the church's bank records, authorities learned Bolden cashed the checks, and told the church representative that there was a problem with their previous reservations so she booked new reservations. According to Norwegian Cruise Lines, the money that was paid to Bolden was not paid towards the reservations. Officials say that Norwegian Cruise Lines canceled those reservations because they did not receive any payments toward the cruise, and no payments were made towards the new reservations made by Bolden. A complaint was reportedly filed on December 7, 2016 to the MSP Criminal Enforcement Division.
The church group reportedly contacted the cruise line directly, and booked the trip themselves by paying with other money from the church, and personal money from the pastor.
On June 20, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for Bolden. Bolden was apparently arrested on July 6 by the Westchester County Police, in New York. After being transported back to Maryland, she was charged with with 34 counts of theft of $1,000 to $10,000 and one count of theft scheme of $10,000 to $100,000. Bolden was released after posting a $5,000 bond with a preliminary shearing scheduled for August 10 in Caroline County District Court.
Officials say that R U Ready To Travel has several prior complaints filed against the company through the Better Business Bureau. Anyone who may have a similar incident to report involving R U Ready To Travel is asked to contact their local state police barrack. For a complete list of Maryland State Police barracks, visit the their website.