A vacation planner at Walt Disney World apparently stole nearly $34,000 from the resort in the form of cash she pocketed from guests for MagicBands, and while that amount of money is more than enough to qualify for grand theft, it appears the woman was only charged with a pair of misdemeanors. The police's punishment certainly seems light to compared to Disney who, of course, fired the woman from her position, and has also banned her from Disney World.
In May of 2019 a 53-year-old cast member at Walt Disney World was fired after her employer confirmed that she had been stealing. According to the Orlando Sentinel, between January 2017 and May 2019, the woman who worked at Magic Kingdom's Transportation and Ticket Center, would take money from guests who were paying for MagicBands in cash, activate the bands, and then, would void the transaction and pocket the cash.
The woman eventually stood out to Walt Disney World because she had significantly lower cash sales overall, and she activated significantly more Magic Bands than she actually sold. According to records supplied by Disney to the Orange County Sheriffs Office, the woman activated 1,307 more MagicBands than she sold in 2018 alone.
Eventually, Walt Disney World sent fraud investigators to check out the woman and they purchased MagicBands from her in cash twice in the spring of 2019. When confronted, she admitted to the theft, claiming that she needed the extra money to pay bills and to send to her mother, following the death of her father in 2017. The woman had been with Walt Disney World since 1990.
While the Sherriff's Office apparently felt there was sufficient evidence to charge the woman with grand theft as well as scheme to defraud, it seems the state's attorney did not feel the same. In the records obtained by the Sentinel, it states the case was lacking scheme to defraud, and that the woman did not obtain the money under false pretenses. It's also stated there were “corpus issues with the estimate of ~$40K” which may indicate how Walt Disney World came up with the value of the theft, officially $33,988, was unclear.
As a result the woman was only apparently only charged with the theft of the cash from the two Disney investigations, and thus, these were misdemeanors, and not grand theft. The sentence, which was handed down in October, also required the woman to pay a $273 fine and attend a seminar on impulse control. She will also be on probation for 12 months. She has also been banned from Walt Disney World, though one assumes that's strictly a Disney punishment and not something that's been set legally.
This isn't the first time, even this year, that a legal case involving Walt Disney World saw a much lighter sentence than was expected. A man who broke into Walt Disney World while it was closed earlier this year and set up camp on Discovery Island, was only fined $100 following a plea bargin.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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