Man behind alleged senior trip scam charged with fraudBy BY GAVIN MALISKA GREENWOOD COMMONWEALTH,
A Greenwood man who allegedly took $8,000 from Humphreys County High School seniors and left them stranded in a parking lot instead of on their class trip was arrested Tuesday by Greenwood police and charged with felony defrauding under false pretenses.
Ladarrius Donte West, 31, with listed addresses of 2647 Kay White Circle and 1369½ Virden Drive, both in the Glendale subdivision, was the subject of a nearly monthlong campaign by students from the high school and their parents and sponsors first trying to get their money back and then warning others not to do business with him or with his alleged company, Big Fella Bus Tours.
Organizers of the trip said they paid West $8,000 to take 54 students and chaperones on a bus to Miami, where they were set to take a cruise ship to the Bahamas. On the morning in mid-April when they were to leave, the students and adults were left waiting in a Belzoni parking lot as West continued to tell organizers “he was on his way” and “was almost there.”
West later told reporters the incident was a mistake and that he would refund the money. He never did.
Parents went to the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, and investigators determined the contract was signed and money changed hands in Greenwood. On May 3, the woman who helped organize the trip, Natasha McMillan, and a Humphreys County deputy visited Greenwood Chief Ray Moore.
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