Newlyweds still waiting for justice against travel agent they accuse of theft

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been almost six months since a  Blue Springs travel agent was accused by an angry bridal party of stealing the nearly $50,000 she was given to pay for a destination wedding.

The bride tells FOX 4 Problem Solver Linda Wagar she's frustrated that as of today the travel agent has yet to be charged.  She worries that if something isn't done, the travel agent will strike again.

It was the destination wedding gone horribly wrong. As FOX 4 first told you, Jana Siemer and her husband Garrett were to be married in Mexico over Memorial Day weekend. Forty-four people were flying there to celebrate with them.

But days before the big day, the Siemers learned travel agent Lisa Philpott hadn't purchased most of the airline tickets or the hotel rooms, even though they'd paid her $50,000 in advance.

“I still can't believe it,” Jana said.

Jana found herself scrambling to save her wedding, as she and her guests dipped into their savings to pay a second time for the trip. The week after returning from Mexico, everyone met with Blue Springs police determined to press charges against travel agent Philpott, who owned Three Sons Travel.

“Everyone brought their paperwork, bank statements. They said they would get it written up and turned over to the prosecutor,” Jana said.

That was six months ago.

“Why hasn't Jackson County prosecuted?” she asked.

Police tell her they handed the case to the prosecutor in late August, but every time she calls the prosecutor, she's told they are still looking into it.

“You fill out these reports and you get all your hopes up for nothing,” Jana said. “I guess it makes me sad to know that this is the world we are living in. You can steal $50,000 and walk away. You steal 50 cents of gum from Walmart and you are arrested. I don't understand it and I never will.”

Problem Solvers contacted the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, which said it is pursuing the case, but had asked Blue Springs police for additional information and is waiting to hear back. Blue Springs police say they have now provided that information. They tell FOX 4 it's not unusual for the prosecutor's office to take more than a year to file criminal charges.

In the meantime the Siemers say some of their wedding party has had their money refunded, either by the travel agent, or PayPal, or their credit cards. But there is still more than $20,000 missing. The travel agent's attorney sent a letter to those still out money asking for them to contact him so a repayment plan can be arranged.

But Jana said there's no guarantee how much money will be returned or how long it will take. She believes even if Philpott returns all the money, she should still have to answer to a judge.

“I'm raising two kids in this world. It's just ridiculous what people can get away with,” Jana said.

There is some good news to report. The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office called the bride Thursday and wants to meet with her next week. We'll let you know what happens.

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