- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Douglas County officials say the FBI and IRS have taken over an investigation into an event-planning business and its owner, who’s accused of selling thousands of worthless travel vouchers.

The Douglas County Attorney’s Office still will continue its prosecution efforts against Patricia Urbanovsky, who’s charged with three felony counts of theft, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1J0MkfU ) reported.

Urbanovsky is the owner of the business, Creative Creations, in Omaha. Her attorney has said that his client is innocent and blamed her troubles on a faulty business model.

A pretrial hearing is set for Sept. 17 in Douglas County District Court.

Authorities say that she ran a scheme through her business to sell discounted airline travel vouchers, which turned out to be worthless.

The company purchased the vouchers for airline flights at a reduced rate and resold them to the public. But hundreds of customers discovered their vouchers wouldn’t be honored because the company had overbooked flights. Only a limited number of vouchers can be redeemed each month.

Urbanovsky is accused of bilking three former employees out of more than $141,000. Prosecutors say she had the employees use their personal credit cards to buy the vouchers when she exceeded her own credit card limits, promising to pay them back. But when she issued them reimbursement checks, they bounced.

The Better Business Bureau in Omaha had received more than 1,500 complaints from individuals around the country, claiming that they’re out more than $1.3 million. A California payment processing company said it’s out more than $3 million in payments that were returned to clients of the business who had disputed charges on their credit or debit cards.

The FBI served a search warrant last week on an Omaha residence that Urbanovsky stayed in. An IRS spokesman declined to comment Tuesday, citing an ongoing investigation.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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