A Disney World vacation turned into a nightmare for a group of dance students from Tennessee.
Blue Sky Journeys, a self proclaimed Disney Authorized travel agency are being accused of scamming the group out of more than $60,000 by accepting payments and then not following through on travel arrangements.
Earlier this month, agency owner Melanie Swoap and her husband John Swoap were indicted on the charge of stealing between $60,000 and $250,000, by a Williamson County grand jury. If convicted, they face eight to 12 years in prison.
District Attorney Kim Helper stated that John Swoap also faces charges related for to trying to deposit a couple of the dancers’ checks twice.
The school, arranged the Disney World trip as a way to expose the dancers to the realities of performing for major destinations like Disney. The trip had been booked since August 2012 through Blue Sky, but when the families arrived in Orlando, they found that the shuttle-pass numbers provided by the Swoaps didn’t work. Then they got to their resort only to find they had no rooms reserved, and no park tickets. Several parents presented credit cards to book rooms and passes on the spot, and the trip went on as planned.
There’s no indication of the cost of it all. Money for the trip went directly to Blue Sky. That should have been a red flag to the dance school.
Just about all Travel Agencies like our own Destinations in Florida never accept any form of payment (like cash). They don’t process credit cards or accept checks, they will take clients’ credit card numbers over the phone and then call Disney to make arrangements. But ultimately they do not touch people’s money.
Late Thursday, Fox 17 learned John Swoap is also under investigation for getting unemployment benefits while working at the travel agency. The Swoaps would not talk on camera, but in a Facebook statement said “We are retaining legal representation regarding this matter and our position at this time is that a dubious allegation has been claimed against us as 90 percent of all monies have been refunded to individuals.”
Always be on guard and do your research! If you want to read more check out the Yahoo Shine article.
Photo Credit: yahooshine.com
Wishing you Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust
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