- Associated Press - Saturday, September 10, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha woman who sold thousands of worthless airline vouchers has pleaded guilty to 16 counts of wire fraud in federal court.

In exchange for Patricia Urbanovsky’s pleas Friday, federal prosecutors dropped nine counts of money laundering against her.

Urbanovsky, 31, now faces more than six years in federal prison under the agreement when she’s sentenced in December, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2cNtuBv ). She had faced up to 365 years.

Urbanovsky was the owner of Creative Creations in Omaha. Authorities say she ran a scheme through her business to sell discounted airline travel vouchers, which turned out to be worthless.

Authorities say her company sold about 36,000 vouchers for airline flights at a reduced rate, but had purchased only about 7,000 of the discounted flight vouchers. Most of those customers discovered their travel plans ruined when vouchers weren’t honored. Officials say the scam cost people and businesses millions of dollars.

Prosecutors said the money Urbanovsky collected from the worthless vouchers wasn’t held in reserve, but used by her for such things as vehicles and rent.

Her attorney, Steve Lefler, told the judge that Urbanovsky was not intentionally trying to defraud people.

A judge accepted her guilty plea Friday and scheduled a sentencing and restitution hearing for Dec. 19 and 20. The hearing is expected to take up to two days because of the large number of people and institutions claiming losses.

Until then, Urbanovsky will remain on home arrest and her movements tracked by an electronic monitor.

Urbanovsky still faces three felony theft counts in state court accusing her of swindling three Creative Creations employees out of $141,000. Her trial for those charges is set for Oct. 3.


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

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