Embezzlement sentence

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Travel agent to reimburse parents

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

A Lorton-based travel agent was sentenced to five years in prison, with all but time served suspended on one count of embezzlement involving a botched European trip with Smithfield High School students and their families in 2015.

On the remaining nine counts of embezzlement, Acheampong was sentenced for five years in prison with five years suspended and a five-year supervised probation.

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The sentence was issued June 21 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court.

The suspended sentences require that Acheampong pay $1,000 a month in restitution beginning July 15 and paid in full by Dec. 15, as well as completing 200 hours of community service, and a zero tolerance for drug use, according to Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Acheampong entered an Alford plea to 10 of 65 counts of embezzlement in February in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. An Alford plea means he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that the state had enough evidence for a conviction.

The remaining 55 counts of embezzlement were not prosecuted.

When the case began, the restitution amount was $53,584 and was down to $31,590 at the time of conviction in February, according to Phillips.

At sentencing, Acheampong still owed $9,440, but signed over $3,340 that was seized from his bank accounts. At sentencing, Acheampong had $6,100 remaining to be paid off, which is a condition of his sentence.

Acheampong had been jailed on the embezzlement charges since May 8 and had served additional time before bond was granted, according to Phillips.

As a travel agent, Acheampong initially arranged the European trip but cancelled it due to issues with overseas suppliers.

After the cancellation, families were given the option of accepting a refund or rescheduling the trip, and several parents opted to reschedule for July. However, upon discovering that Acheampong had marijuana charges pending against him, they promptly withdrew and filed for a refund.

They were told, however, that because they had canceled their arrangements less than 30 days before the departure date, there would be no refund from the agency and that their reasons for cancelation did not fall under the agency’s insurance provider’s refund policy.  {/mprestriction}