A 38-year-old Chester County woman was charged Wednesday with scamming scores of people into paying for bogus vacation packages totaling $400,000, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Wednesday.
Christine Hayes was charged with theft, identity theft, and a related fraud count after an investigation determined she used aliases to peddle discounted travel packages between July 2017 and February of this year, Shapiro said. During that period, Hayes was living in Montgomery County. She is now a resident of West Chester.
“This defendant defrauded 82 people who thought they were booking vacations with their friends and family, only to find out they had tickets to nowhere, their money stolen by this fake travel agent,” Shapiro said in a statement.
Hayes has repaid much of the stolen money, Shapiro said.
Hayes allegedly used the aliases Rebecca Williamson, Rebecca Wilson, and Rebecca Richardson while perpetrating the scam on victims in counties across Southeastern Pennsylvania. Authorities said she communicated to her targets through emails and texts.
In one case, Hayes allegedly lied about having breast cancer after a cancer victim she was defrauding expressed concerns about a trip to Disney World.
“She misled hardworking people by promising incredible deals for dream vacations and then failed to deliver,” Shapiro said.