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Sierra Madre : Travel Agent Is Charged

An Arcadia woman has been charged with one count of grand theft in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $40,000 from the Sierra Madre travel agency where she worked, police said.

Pasadena Municipal Court Judge Judson Morris delayed the arraignment of Lauranne Gillett, an employee of the VIP Travel Agency, until Sept. 30 while the investigation continues.

Police said she is cooperating with them.

Attorney Daniel Sweeney said Gillett, 48, turned herself in Aug. 25 on his advice after a monthlong police investigation into her work at the travel agency.

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“She has not admitted taking anything, but she has not denied it,” he said.

Sweeney said he does not know what plea she will enter at her arraignment.

Sierra Madre Police Detective John Cordischi said Gillett, a bookkeeper and part-time travel agent, admitted to him and her employer she had embezzled money since last October.

Cordischi said she showed him how she turned travel agency checks into cashier’s checks that she used to buy a car, pay her rent and credit card bills.

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VIP Travel’s owner, Horst Engel, called Sierra Madre police a month ago after he became suspicious and confronted Gillett, Cordischi said.

Engel was on vacation in the Balkans and was not available for comment.


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