10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks is reporting that Augustine Acheampong was indicted by an Isle of Wight grand jury on Monday, April 18. He is facing 55 counts of embezzlement, which include the previous nine he was facing.
Acheampong has turned himself into deputies with the sheriff’s office, and is being held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.
Acheampong will have a bond hearing Wednesday morning.
ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A travel agent accused of booking a bogus trip for Smithfield High School students was in front of judge Wednesday.
Prosecutors say Augustine Acheampong took $60,000 from students around the state for a European trip, but canceled two days before they were set to leave.
“I just really wish he would get what he deserves,” said Smithfield High Senior Hailey Lanford.
Lanford along with almost two dozens students and parents are on a quest for justice. They showed up for court date for the man they say took their money and ruined their vacation.
“I get so mad every time I see his face,” Lanford added.
Acheampong is a travel agent in Northern Virginia. Last spring, he set up the trip for three high schools in the Commonwealth.
“He kept telling us we were going on this trip, but two days before we were leaving all the airplane tickets of the airline were declined,” said parent Kristie Lanford.
Students weren’t getting refunds, so Acheampong was changed with embezzlement in Isle of Wight and Warren Counties. The charges in Warren County were recently dismissed when he paid back the money, but that hasn’t happened in Smithfield.
“They did the right thing,” Acheampong said on his way out of court.
“Mr. Acheampong has been prepared for sometime to pay the entire refunds to these students, however we have advised him to withhold these refunds pending a plea agreement with the prosecutor,” Acheampong’s attorney Bryan Block added.
Achaempong’s attorney contends this is a civil matter, and the criminal charges should be dropped. His motion to have the Isle of Wight charges dismissed was not granted by the judge, and the parents of the students agree.
“I can’t change the outcome of your trial,” Lanford said. “That’s up to a jury so you would think he would want to give good faith and actually return what everybody gave him.”
The travel agent has a trial scheduled to begin February 27, 2017.
10 On Your Side has also learned more charges could be coming with an Isle of Wight Grand Jury meets this Monday.