Hyattsville travel agent pleads guilty to scam for 2nd time

A former travel agent in Hyattsville, Maryland, has pleaded guilty to a theft scheme for the second time, authorities said Tuesday.

In a statement, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said Lorena Balbuena-Aguiar ran an unlicensed travel agency — Azteka Travel & Services, LLC — between 2018 and 2019 that was “targeting primarily the Hispanic community.”

“This is not the first time that she has defrauded individuals, but hopefully this sends a message that we won’t tolerate this,” Braveboy said. “Financial crimes are devastating to the victims and we work hard to get justice for individuals who are taken advantage of.”

Balbuena-Aguilar previously pleaded guilty and received home detention for running the same scam, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

During the scam, she would accept money from victims with the promise of booking their flights. Those who paid for travel through Balbuena-Aguilar would call their airlines only to discover no payment was made.

She would then convince victims that “there was a mix up with the airline,” getting them to book another flight and promising reimbursement. Those refunds were never received.

Balbuena-Aguilar will be sentenced on Aug. 24 and faces up to five years in prison.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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