Grinch Goes To Prison

A Miami promoter accused of bilking elementary school children out of thousands of dollars in a 2003 Christmas pageant scam was sentenced August 10th to more than seven years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard Goldberg sentenced David Lee Ellisor, 52, to 87 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $38,000 in restitution.

The promoter, called a Grinch by prosecutors, was convicted in February on eight counts of mail fraud in connection with the December 2003 “Christmas Around The World” pageant in which he took in between $30,000 and $50,000 for tickets and other expenses.

Ellisor claimed the event was sponsored by the University of Miami and that ambassadors from 28 countries would be there. However, busloads of students arrived at the Coconut Grove Convention Center December 3rd to find a locked building and no Ellisor.

More than 2,700 children and parents bought the $10 tickets.

Bank records seized by the FBI showed the promoter used money from an account set up for the pageant to buy items including wine, lodging, movie rentals, dry cleaning and a luxury car.

Prosecutors said Ellisor’s hefty sentence comes partially due to evidence that he’d conducted similar cons in other cities.

Ellisor told the judge he was wrongly convicted and that he had no control over what happened.

“I’ve never intentionally taken anything from anyone. It was not my intent to defraud anyone,” he said.

His attorney, Stuart Adelstein, said he would appeal the conviction and the sentence.