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What you need to know for 07/28/2017

Clifton Park travel agent allegedly defrauds more than 40 clients

Clifton Park travel agent allegedly defrauds more than 40 clients

Dozens of people were sorely disappointed when Sand Dollar Travel Agency in Clifton Park accepted th
Clifton Park travel agent allegedly defrauds more than 40 clients
Anna Marie Perrotti, owner of Sand Dollar Travel, in late 2014.

“Dream. Pack. Relax. Leave the rest to us,” reads the soothing slogan scrawled across Sand Dollar Travel Agency’s website. Dozens of people who saved their precious vacation days and scraped together funds all year were sorely disappointed when the travel agency accepted thousands of dollars but failed to book their trips or overcharged their credit cards along the way, according to police.

Anna Marie Perotti, a 47-year-old Clifton Park woman, has been arrested after allegedly defrauding more than 40 clients through her business, Sand Dollar Travel Agency, on Route 9 in Halfmoon. State Police announced the arrest of Perotti Wednesday.

Perotti’s arrest came just weeks after a former Sand Dollar Travel customer who claimed to have been overcharged filed a complaint with police in late August.

Perotti reportedly turned herself in to police in Halfmoon on Wednesday after a police investigation revealed she had defrauded over 40 people through her business, according to police.

According to police, Perotti failed to arrange and book vacations for some of her clients after they had already paid her. She also allegedly used her clients’ credit card information to overcharge them when she actually booked trips.

In April, Lisa Towle and her husband Mike began planning a trip to St. Lucia for the following February. The week-long trip would cost the Clifton Park couple about $6,000. They called Perotti at Sand Dollar Travel to make arrangements and gave her their credit card information for a deposit. “She seemed fine,” recalled Towle.

A few months later, Towle’s card was declined and she realized Sand Dollar Travel had charged her $30,000 rather than $6,000. Towle said Perotti doubled the deposit then began taking $2,500 out of her account every other day. When Towle finally checked her bank account she said “I almost fell off my chair.” Towle said she called Perotti directly. “She was so apologetic. She kept saying, “I can’t believe this happened. I feel so bad,” according to Towle.

When asked if she will still be able to go on her vacation to St. Lucia, Towle said, “I don’t know. Now I’m a little concerned. I have to call the resort. I have to call the airline…”

In the two weeks since the investigation began, state troopers say they have interviewed more than 40 individuals who fell victim to Perotti’s scheme. As of Wednesday, Towle had not yet been interviewed by police. Many of these individuals will not be able to be reimbursed since they paid Perotti in cash, according to police.

Perotti was charged with two felony counts of grand larceny in the third degree and one felony count of scheming to defraud in the first degree.

Perotti was arraigned in the Halfmoon Town Court and sent to the Saratoga County Jail. Perotti’s bail was set at $25,000. She is scheduled to return to the Halfmoon Town Court Tuesday.

Troopers have been working with the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office and expect the evidence gathered will be presented to a grand jury down the line.

Neither Perotti or her attorney were available for comment on Wednesday.

If you have lost money after trying to book a vacation with Sand Dollar Travel, contact reporter Cady Kuzmich at 269-7239 or ckuzmich@dailygazette.net.

Reach Gazette reporter Cady Kuzmich at 269-7239, ckuzmich@dailygazette.net or @cady_kuz on Twitter.

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