Large groups of high school students arrived at meeting spots ready to celebrate graduation by traveling — only to learn their trip was canceled.
It wasn’t an accident, authorities say, and the Texas travel agent who booked the trips could go to prison for years.
George Barragan, 46, pleaded guilty Tuesday to mail fraud in a scheme to steal at least $150,000 from high school students, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
The businessman from the San Antonio suburb of Cibolo is accused of targeting high school student groups by promising to book and arrange travel accommodations through several travel agencies, including a business named Senior Grad Trips.
After customers paid Barragan, he completed reservations and provided them with confirmations purporting to show travel arrangements were completed, authorities say.
However, he canceled the reservations before the trips and kept the refunds, authorities say.
“Barragan never notified his victims of the cancellations,” according to a news release. “In fact, he kept communicating with them after he canceled their trips, informing them that their travel was still taking place.”
In a plea agreement, Barragan admitted to defrauding six high school groups from May 2015 to June 2018.
Barragan could go to prison up to 20 years. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in May.