North Texas pair charged with theft following travel scam

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 9 at 6:20 PM

PLANO – A North Texas man and woman are charged with theft after bilking parents out of $105,000 for fake travel vouchers, dashing their children’s dreams of visiting Disney World.

Andrea Maxwell is charged with two counts of theft in Tarrant County.

According to court documents, Maxwell sold airline tickets to two people, collecting the money, but never delivering the tickets.

Maxwell, 38, of Bedford and Donald LaGrone, 49, of Plano are accused of selling fake vouchers for a Disney World travel package to a Houston-area gymnastics club. Trip organizers began worrying when they turned their money in but never heard back from Maxwell and LaGrone. 

Neither could be reached for comment. 

"It was devastating," said Christina Tillinger, a parent. "The first thing I thought was, ‘how am I going to tell them?’"

Some families borrowed money from relatives so their kids could go on the trip to Florida. 

"A lot of them cried," said Tillinger. "A lot of them were mad. They had different reactions based on their personalities."

Several parents whose kids who play for a North Texas hockey club said they bought travel vouchers from LaGrone and Maxwell. Some parents say, at first, the vouchers worked. 

But as more parents bought them, people would get stranded. One parent said he paid $100 per airline ticket. 

“It sounded too good to be true, and in the end, it was," the parent, who asked not to be identified, said. 

Court documents show in 1999, Andrea Maxwell pleaded guilty in Federal court for another scheme. 

She sold airline tickets to buyers, whose credit cards were then used to make fraudulent purchases. She spent 18 months in federal prison.

Email sstoler@wfaa.com

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