Pa. man gets 5 years for pilgrimage trip scam

Jul 26, 2012, 12:10 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A suburban Philadelphia man is heading to federal prison for bilking devout customers out of more than $400,000 by promising holy land trips that never happened.

A federal judge ordered 74-year-old John Baird to spend five years in prison for ripping off mostly elderly victims who thought they were buying trips to Christian pilgrimage sites.

Prosecutors say the Elkins Park man ran the scheme from 2004 to 2007 as operator of Christian Pilgrim Tours. He promised trips and even an audience with the Pope only to cancel the tours after getting paid in advance.

Baird blamed legal advisers for his business problems but U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson rejected that excuse, saying Baird preyed on the vulnerable.

Baird was also ordered to repay his victims about $410,000.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Aerial view of two drug smugglers are arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the bord...
Luke Forstner

August a big month for drugs seized on Arizona’s southern border so far

The Port of Entry in Nogales has seen a big spike in drugs crossing the border in August – including meth, heroin and fentanyl pills.
5 hours ago
(MCSO photo)...
KTAR.com

MCSO announces bust of illegitimate marijuana dispensary in Phoenix

An unlicensed marijuana dispensary called “Korporate Smoke” that also sold psilocybin mushrooms in Phoenix was busted by law enforcement.
5 hours ago
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Latvian Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks shake h...
Associated Press

Austin pledges military training, support for Baltics

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — The U.S. will conduct more military exercises with Baltic nations such as Latvia, and look to provide increased training, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday, saying the U.S. may bring in additional troops from America if needed to bolster the region against any possible threat from Russia. Speaking at a press […]
5 hours ago
FILE - An employee of Honda Motor Co. cleans a Honda car displayed at its headquarters in Tokyo on ...
Associated Press

Japan’s Honda sees declining profits on semiconductor crunch

TOKYO (AP) — Honda’s fiscal first quarter profit fell 33% from last year as a global computer chip shortage, a pandemic-related lockdown in China and the rising costs of raw materials hurt the Japanese automaker. Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. reported Wednesday that its profit totaled 149.2 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the April-June quarter, down […]
5 hours ago
People wearing face masks walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in ...
Associated Press

European stocks higher, Asia falls ahead of US inflation

BEIJING (AP) — European stock markets opened higher while Asia fell Wednesday ahead of the release of U.S. inflation data that traders worry will show upward pressure on prices still is too strong for the Federal Reserve to ease off interest rate hikes. London, Frankfurt and Wall Street futures gained. Shanghai and Tokyo retreated. Oil […]
1 day ago
People wearing face masks walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in ...
Sponsored Content by

BEIJING (AP) — European stock markets opened higher while Asia fell Wednesday ahead of the release of U.S. inflation data that traders worry will show upward pressure on prices still is too strong for the Federal Reserve to ease off interest rate hikes. London, Frankfurt and Wall Street futures gained. Shanghai and Tokyo retreated. Oil […]

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Pa. man gets 5 years for pilgrimage trip scam