Dozens of people never got what they were promised
The Butler County woman accused of scamming families out of their vacation money by promising them what turned out to be bogus trips to the happiest place on earth is in police custody.
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The Butler County woman accused of scamming families out of their vacation money by promising them what turned out to be bogus trips to the happiest place on earth is in police custody.
Lisa Andres, 40, was arrested Thursday in Columbus, Ohio after being indicted April 30 on 39 counts of theft. The Liberty Township was taken to a jail in Columbus to await extradition back to Butler County.
The county prosecutor says the suspected crimes involve at least 38 victims, all of whom thought they were booking a vacations to Disney World through the Andres, a self-labeled freelance travel agent.
“They were told they would have tickets, they would have boarding passes, they would have reservations a number of things,” prosecutor Mike Gmoser said in April. "All of this happened with the intent to steal this money for her own purposes which we allege in these indictments."
Andres was originally arrested in Mason back in January. WCPO spoke with several people at that time who said they were scammed.
Tri-State resident Jennifer Zale claimed back in January that she was one of Andres' victims. Zale said she made it all the way to the Orlando, Fla. theme park before learning there was nothing booked for her or her family.
"We didn't get to stay where we were supposed to stay,” said Zale. “We didn't have any passes. We had no meal plan or anything. We had to buy our entire vacation all over again."
Zale’s mother, Pam Zale, said her family was cheated out of thousands.
"We gave her $5,000,” Pam Zale said. “We had to spend another $5,000 to redo what we paid for."
Each woman said they met Andres at a Fairfield gym.
During conversations there, they claim Andres promised to get them vacation deals or have them invest in a fake vacation and timeshare business.
“You not only feel upset, but you feel really stupid,” said Butler County resident Jennifer Dendler, who claims she was a victim of Andres. “I consider myself a somewhat intelligent person and when you find things out like this, you wonder, ‘What did I not see? What did I not do?’"
Natalie Josselyn also said she invested with Andres, only to learn later she was duped.
Josselyn claims she lost $20,000 to a scam perpetrated by Andres.
“All along I would be trying to collect the money and said, ‘Where's the profit?’ Can I come over and visit?’” Josselyn said. “I'm humiliated. I feel embarrassed. I get angry and sad because I think of the people that she's hurt."
The women are asking that anyone who may have dealt with Andres tell authorities.