8 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that a federal jury in Miami, Florida found defendant, David Lee Ellisor, guilty of eight (8) counts of mail fraud in connection with an event he purported to stage for elementary school children in December 2003 entitled “Christmas From Around the World” at the Coconut Grove Convention Center. Each count of mail fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, carries a maximum penalty of twenty (20) years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.
At trial, the government proved that Ellisor targeted students and teachers at Miami-Dade County public and private schools, promising that the event would be a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and that students attending the event would receive raffle tickets to win “thousands of dollars of sponsored gifts.” Over 2,700 victims, from at least twenty (20) Miami-area schools, paid the $10 per person fee requested by Ellisor, and made arrangements to attend the event, supposedly scheduled for December 3-5, 2003. Local business also provided money to Ellisor based upon his promises about the event. When the first group of students arrived at the Convention Center on the morning of December 3, they found the building locked, with no information about the event, and Ellisor nowhere to be found. Ellisor never met the requirements for staging an event at the Convention Center. Ellisor also collected thousands of dollars in fees for the event, which he then took as cash or used for personal expenses, including a hotel suite, a Jaguar and a watch which he estimated at $5,000.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Shipley and John Delionado.