A federal jury in Miami last week convicted an event promoter of swindling elementary school children out of a Christmas show in December 2003.
David Lee Ellisor—whom prosecutors compared to the Grinch, the Dr. Seuss character who “stole Christmas”—was found guilty on eight counts of mail fraud in connection with a “Christmas Around the World” show. Students and teachers in Miami-Dade County schools were told that the show would be a unique opportunity, and at least 2,700 pupils and teachers from 20 schools paid $10 per person for tickets, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.
But when the first group of students arrived for the show at the Coconut Grove Convention Center on the morning of Dec. 3, 2003, they found the building locked, prosecutors said. At the trial last week, educators and law-enforcement officials from Utah testified that children there had been victimized by a similar scheme.
Mr. Ellisor was accused of using the proceeds from the tickets for a hotel suite, a Jaguar, and a $5,000 watch. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week