David Saks: Travel Agent Sentenced in $360K Fraud - Stole From High School Band

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Travel Agent Sentenced in $360K Fraud - Stole From High School Band

Travel Agent Sentenced in $360,000 Fraud


Stole Money from High School Band

U.S. Attorney’s Office March 11, 2015
  • Western District of Missouri (816) 426-3122

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a travel agent was sentenced in federal court today for stealing $360,000 from the Willard High School Band Boosters, which forced the cancellation of a trip to Hawaii for more than 300 students and chaperones.

Calliope R. Saaga,

also known as “Ope,” 40, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Saaga to pay $782,480 in restitution.

On Oct. 15, 2014, Saaga pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Saaga has also pleaded guilty to a similar $272,500 fraud scheme involving a school district in Fort Smith, Ark. He will be sentenced on that conviction, as well as related conduct for a similar $149,980 fraud scheme involving a West Memphis, Ark., school district, on March 25, 2015, in the Western District of Arkansas.

The total loss for the victims in these fraud schemes

was $782,480.

Saaga, doing business as Present America Tours, LLC, contracted with the Willard High School Band Boosters in January 2011 to provide travel arrangements for a June 2012 band trip to Hawaii. Saaga was responsible for booking airfare, lodging, transportation, meals, tours, and travel insurance for more than 300 students and chaperones.

The Willard High School Band Boosters wired 12

payments of $30,000 each to Saaga between February

2011 and January 2012.


Saaga booked no

reservations as required in

the contract.


Instead, as he

received wire transfers from

the band boosters, Saaga

used the funds to finance his

personal lifestyle, including

at least 47 days spent

gambling in Las Vegas, Nev.


As a result of Saaga’s diversion of funds, the Willard

High School band trip was cancelled and the Willard

High School Band Boosters suffered a loss of $360,000.

While he was spending the money of the Willard High School Band Boosters to finance his personal lifestyle, Saaga transmitted e-mails about details of the trip to the Willard High School director of bands, which lulled the band boosters into believing that their trip to Hawaii was on schedule.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull II. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Willard, Mo., Police Department.

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Comment balloon 4 commentsDavid Saks • March 13 2015 08:26AM


David Saks What a scumbag Ope turned out to be! In my opinion, 5 years is not enough and the school will never see a dime from this piece of crap. At least he was caught. Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) over 5 years ago

So many crazy things like this go on in the world, I am glad they got caught.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) over 5 years ago

That filthy bastard is the worst scum in the barrel, Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI 

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 5 years ago

I am too, Brian England Very glad !

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 5 years ago

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