A travel agency owner has pleaded guilty to defrauding travel agents across the US out of more than half a million dollars in commission payments.
According to the US Department of Justice, court documents revealed 45-year-old Matthew Harold Schumacher pocketed more than approximately $484,000 ($646,358) in agent commissions using a host travel services scheme.
Schumacher was owner and operator of two Minnesota-based travel agencies which he used to provide host travel services to independent agents across the country for a monthly fee.
He claimed his business would fetch agents higher commission rates from suppliers than independent agents could get on their own, which Schumacher told them he would collect on behalf of the agents before distributing the money.
The documents said at least 36 travel agents were defrauded of commission payments owed to them, which Schumacher spent on travel to Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, and multiple European countries, major cash withdrawals, electronics and personal expenses
Schumacher lulled agents into a false sense of security by giving them partial payments along with fraudulent information, according to US Department of Justice.
He was charged with four counts of wire fraud in December 2020 following FBI investigations.
The case will be prosecuted by assistant US attorney Matthew Ebert.
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