Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 24, 2011

Discount debacle darkens Disneyland dreams

Discount tickets sold locally turn out to be scam

by Glenn Wohltmann

Imagine buying discount tickets to Disneyland, driving more than six hours with the family, only to find out the tickets were bogus. That's the case for some Pleasanton families who bought tickets on Craigslist from a Pleasant Hill woman, according to police.

Sgt. Jim Knox said there are at least five local cases involving Lisa Marie Cassinelli, 51, who was charged in a similar scam earlier this month in Walnut Creek. Knox said Cassinelli arranged to meet would-be victims at the Cheesecake Factory or P.F. Chang's at Stoneridge Shopping Center.

He said people were paying $250 to $300 per person for three-day park hopper passes, which allowed the buyer to visit both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

"They're using cash, they're gong down there and finding the tickets have never been activated," Knox said, adding that the woman presents a fictitious receipt to prove the passes are valid.

In the Walnut Creek cases, Cassinelli was accompanied by a young girl she claimed was her daughter. The Walnut Creek Police Department confirmed three cases involving Cassinelli.

The investigation uncovered two more victims in San Ramon; a search warrant at her home, allegedly turned up additional Disneyland passes and information indicating there may be other unidentified victims of this scam.

Walnut Creek police said most evidence indicates the victims are from Contra Costa County and the greater Sacramento area. Knox, however, is concerned there may be other local victims

"We would caution people that if they see an advertisement related to Disneylaney park hopper passes that they be wary," he said.

Anyone who may have been a victim is asked to contact the Pleasanton Police Department at 931-5100.

--Bay City News contributed to this report

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