Monday, May 21, 2018
Public safety

Zephyrhills man who fled fraud trial found in Seminole County

A former travel agency staffer who skipped out on his fraud trial last month while a jury was deliberating his charges was arrested Wednesday in Seminole County.

Daren Randall Trusty, 46, of Zephyrhills disappeared by the time the jurors announced Aug. 27 that they had found him guilty as charged of scheming to defraud.

When Trusty, who had been allowed to remain free on bail, did not return repeated phone calls ordering him to come back to the Dade City courtroom, Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa issued a bench warrant for his arrest and ordered him to be held at the county jail until his Oct. 25 sentencing.

A Seminole County sheriff's deputy spotted Trusty at 4:27 p.m. Wednesday at Executive Park Court and State 436 in Apopka, according to a report. His car was secured and left in a nearby Wendy's parking lot. No other details were available. He was taken to the Pasco County jail, where he remains without bail.

Trusty was arrested in 2011 after working for six months at A World of Adventures in Wesley Chapel. Prosecutors said he defrauded the company and two clients of between $20,000 and $50,000.

Clients testified that Trusty would book trips and then call them and say he had gotten a better deal, but it had to be booked with a credit card they didn't have or with cash. He told them he had covered the amount and to make checks out to his personal account.

The clients never took the trips or got their money back.

Trusty, who has at least three felonies on his record, testified he had reasonable explanations for the thousands of dollars that were put into his bank account and expenditures that showed up on his corporate credit card.

The travel agency owner, Julie Illes, said she had to freeze the card before firing Trusty.

"He lived a lavish lifestyle, and his income couldn't support it," Assistant State Attorney Phil Matthey told the jury during closing arguments.

Trusty faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

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