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HomeNewsArchivesJUDGE FINDS CAUSE FOR ARREST OF TRAVEL AGENT

JUDGE FINDS CAUSE FOR ARREST OF TRAVEL AGENT

Territorial Court Judge Ishmael Meyers found probable cause Tuesday to support the arrest of St. Thomas travel agent Robert Starr. Starr was charged with allegedly embezzling funds from clients of Bayside Travel, which he owned and operated.
Special Agent Louis Penn Jr. of the V.I. Justice Department testified that Starr accepted money as payment for airline travel arrangements for five residents but has, to date, failed to produce the airline tickets or reimburse the customers.
The transactions, which are the subject of a three-count information against Starr, are separate and apart from ten similar counts leveled against him by the government in 1999 when similar allegations surfaced.
Prosecutor Douglas Sprotte, in response to testimony by Penn about the complaints, said, "There is a clear pattern of behavior, an intent to defraud his customers."
Defense attorney Stephen Brusch was not convincing when he argued that Starr suffered from "inexperience in running a business." Sprotte responded, "Fifteen times, that's not inexperience, that's intent to defraud."
And Brusch wondered openly in court why the complaints were forwarded to the Justice Department as opposed to Licensing and Consumer Affairs which routinely investigates complaints against businesses.
Meyers said Starr "was entrusted with the money of his clients. This court finds that he (Starr) has appropriated the monies for his own use. I find probable cause for the arrest."
Meyers continued bail for Starr at $1,000 and set an arraignment date of Feb. 17 for the defendant.
Sprotte is expected to serve as prosecutor in both cases against Starr, who has retained Brusch as defense counsel.
As an aside, in response to a question by Judge Meyers, Sprotte said the government was prepared to go to trial with the case immediately.
Pointing to two legal folders stacked with various documents, Penn commented, "The case is right here, ready to go."
Bayside Travel, opened by Starr in 1998, was closed after his first run-in with the law in July of 1999, but he apparently continued to operate as a travel agent.
The complaints that are the subject of the latest charges against him resulted from transactions he made since his arrest on ten counts of embezzlement last July.

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Territorial Court Judge Ishmael Meyers found probable cause Tuesday to support the arrest of St. Thomas travel agent Robert Starr. Starr was charged with allegedly embezzling funds from clients of Bayside Travel, which he owned and operated.
Special Agent Louis Penn Jr. of the V.I. Justice Department testified that Starr accepted money as payment for airline travel arrangements for five residents but has, to date, failed to produce the airline tickets or reimburse the customers.
The transactions, which are the subject of a three-count information against Starr, are separate and apart from ten similar counts leveled against him by the government in 1999 when similar allegations surfaced.
Prosecutor Douglas Sprotte, in response to testimony by Penn about the complaints, said, "There is a clear pattern of behavior, an intent to defraud his customers."
Defense attorney Stephen Brusch was not convincing when he argued that Starr suffered from "inexperience in running a business." Sprotte responded, "Fifteen times, that's not inexperience, that's intent to defraud."
And Brusch wondered openly in court why the complaints were forwarded to the Justice Department as opposed to Licensing and Consumer Affairs which routinely investigates complaints against businesses.
Meyers said Starr "was entrusted with the money of his clients. This court finds that he (Starr) has appropriated the monies for his own use. I find probable cause for the arrest."
Meyers continued bail for Starr at $1,000 and set an arraignment date of Feb. 17 for the defendant.
Sprotte is expected to serve as prosecutor in both cases against Starr, who has retained Brusch as defense counsel.
As an aside, in response to a question by Judge Meyers, Sprotte said the government was prepared to go to trial with the case immediately.
Pointing to two legal folders stacked with various documents, Penn commented, "The case is right here, ready to go."
Bayside Travel, opened by Starr in 1998, was closed after his first run-in with the law in July of 1999, but he apparently continued to operate as a travel agent.
The complaints that are the subject of the latest charges against him resulted from transactions he made since his arrest on ten counts of embezzlement last July.