Travel agent guilty of theft now facing civil lawsuits

WARNER ROBINS — A Warner Robins travel agent convicted of taking money but failing to deliver on bookings is expected to appear today in Houston County Magistrate Court to face a series of civil complaints.

Sara Betty Bearden, 66, who operated Sophie’s Travel Agency on Moody Road, is scheduled to be in Magistrate Court this afternoon, as well as Monday and March 24, to face more than a dozen civil lawsuits seeking damages.

In October, Houston County Superior Court Judge George F. Nunn ordered Bearden to pay $59,408.20 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to 47 counts of felony and misdemeanor theft by conversion. The bookings ranged from a family reunion to a honeymoon trip to a high school senior trip.

Nunn issued a preliminary sentencing of three years in jail and 12 years on probation. The judge also ordered a pre-sentencing report for Bearden and may reduce the sentence to as low as 15 years probation based on her health and age if the sentencing reports finds she qualified for a probated sentence.

Acting District Attorney Jason Ashford said Tuesday that the pre-sentencing report has not yet been completed. Bearden is free on bond pending final sentencing.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.