Police say man lied to teens, took their graduation trip money and stranded them in parking lot

Published 6:00 am Friday, May 31, 2019

A Mississippi man who authorities say took $8,000 and made fake promises to high school seniors about a graduation trip has been charged with fraud.

Humphreys County High School students were stranded in a parking lot waiting for 31-year-old Ladarrius Donte West, who said he had a company called Big Fella Bus Tours.

He was supposed to drive them to Miami to board a cruise to the Bahamas, but didn’t show up, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

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Greenwood police arrested West on Tuesday and charged him with defrauding under false pretenses.

The newspaper did not report whether he has an attorney. A municipal court judge set bail at $10,000.

Andrea Allen-Rush’s nephew, Preston De-Jon Allen, is a member of the Class of 2019, and she helped raise money for the senior trip.

Allen-Rush said the students did most of the work by selling doughnuts, candy bars and fruit snacks.

Allen-Rush said that besides the $8,000 the families gave to West, they lost more than $3,000 for the cruise.

Organizers in Humphreys County decided not to let the students become victims.

Allen-Rush said the community came together again and sent 39 students and nine adults to an abbreviated visit to Miami and the beach on the weekend of May 10-12.

“We petitioned so many people inside and outside our community,” she said. “We had a GoFundMe page. The Ladies of Faith sold fish plate dinners. Together they raised nearly $8,000, and the bus company they booked donated, too.”