‘Grinch’ Who Bilked Children Sentenced

From Associated Press

A show promoter labeled a “Grinch” by prosecutors for selling tickets to thousands of children for a nonexistent Christmas pageant was sentenced Wednesday to more than seven years in prison.

The judge told David Lee Ellisor that his actions were “reprehensible.”

Ellisor, 52, was convicted in February of eight counts of mail fraud for a December 2003 scam in which he sold $10 tickets to more than 2,700 Miami-Dade County schoolchildren and parents for a “Christmas Around the World” show. He claimed that it would be attended by ambassadors from 28 countries and feature live reindeer.

Hundreds of children were left crying outside the Coconut Grove Convention Center when they learned that there would be no show.


Trial evidence indicated that Ellisor emptied the show’s bank account to buy a luxury car the day the show was to begin.

“Mr. Ellisor, what you did was reprehensible, to take money from young, vulnerable and impressionable children,” U.S. District Judge Richard Goldberg said. “I am convinced that given the chance, you would do it all over again.”

Ellisor insisted that he was wrongly convicted and that the show turned out bad for reasons beyond his control.

He was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $38,000 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Atty. John C. Shipley said the sentence was partly a reflection of evidence that Ellisor had pulled similar scams in California, Arizona and other states.