Belle Chasse travel agent accused of stealing from client
BELLE CHASSE, LA (WVUE) - A travel agent has been arrested, accused of stealing from at least one of her clients, according to the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office.
Paige Champagne, 46, allegedly stole more than $22,000 from a client who had booked a cruise with her company, Champagne Travel, in May 2015.
According to a press release, the 65-year-old victim called authorities to complain on Jan. 4. The victim said he booked a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas through Champagne's Belle Chasse business. The cost was about $25,500. However, Champagne reportedly told the victim that she would provide a discount and only charge $22,000 if he paid in full. The man agreed to the deal, but he said a credit card statement showed he was actually charged $22,887. The Sheriff's Office said Champagne received the payment, but she only placed a $500 deposit with the cruise line using her business credit card.
With two days left before the cruise, the victim became suspicious when he didn't get luggage tags or boarding passes. The victim contacted the cruise line directly and found there was no record of his booking.
The Sheriff's Office partnered with cruise line investigators, which then led to Champagne's arrest. According to detectives, Champagne refunded the payment on Jan. 8, but investigators were not able to confirm the authenticity of the payment.
Champagne surrendered to deputies on Jan. 22 and was booked into the Belle Chasse Lockup. She was released from custody the same day after posting a $5,000 bond.
Sheriff's investigators say they've been contacted by more possible victims.
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