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Travel agent accused of scamming Smithfield High School students out of thousands in court

Augustine Achaempong's defense attorney made a motion to dismiss his criminal charges. He asked that those charged be moved to civil court instead.

The judge denied that request.

After court, NewsChannel 3 tried talking with Achaempong outside of court, but he refused to answer any of our questions.

Police say Achaempong stole thousands of dollars from Smithfield High School students and their families. They used him as a travel agent for a school trip to Europe. At the last minute, they say he canceled the trip.

Police say he never paid them back.

After court, Achaempong's attorney told us he has offered to pay the back to the students if the Commonwealth's Attorney drops the charges.

Prosecutors have not agreed to that.

"The prosecutor has not agreed to drop charges in exchange for payment of these refunds. Therefore we are holding the refunds in hopes for a plea," defense attorney Bryan Block said.

Some of the students the travel agent is accused of scamming were also in court.

"You can't just get away with taking everyone's money and lying to them, and get their hopes up to have this amazing trip. Then, just rip it all way," Smithfield High School student Hailey Lanford said.

Achaempong's trial is scheduled for May.

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