Box, Brian

Brian Box

CHEYENNE – A man accused of stealing thousands from customers through his former travel agency will serve up to three years in prison as part of a plea agreement reached last week in Laramie County District Court.

Brian Box, 48, had pleaded not guilty last fall to 28 counts of felony theft, seven counts of misdemeanor theft, seven counts of fraud by check, two counts of use of another’s credit card and two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

In an agreement filed last Thursday, Box reversed course, pleading guilty to every theft and fraud charge, with the only charges dropped being the two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

As a result, Box will serve 18 to 36 months at the Wyoming State Penitentiary. Following his release from the Rawlins prison, he will serve up to 20 years on probation.

Box was the chief operator of the hunting-focused travel agency in Frontier Mall known as both Top Travel and The Outdoor Pursuit. In late 2018 and early 2019, Box allegedly stole $125,000 from 34 people through his business, which is no longer operating.

The Cheyenne Police Department found out about the fraud when several of Box’s customers reported they had paid for their trips through the company, yet their trips had been canceled without their knowledge or a refund. Many involved in the case didn’t know their plans had been canceled until they contacted the airlines and hotels directly.

Investigators determined Box was pocketing the trip deposits customers made after he canceled the trips without their knowledge, and he was also accused of keeping the refunds from the trips.

Box had previously asked for a change of venue due to the case’s pretrial publicity, including a Cheyenne Police Department Facebook post that Box’s attorney argued was problematic. That motion, however, was denied by District Judge Steven Sharpe last month.

Following the filing of the plea agreement, Box’s sentencing date has been set for July 6.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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