Charleston hotel employees charged in 21-count federal indictment for wire fraud

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Two women were charged in a 21-count indictment for committing wire fraud while working at a downtown Charleston hotel

U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, M. Rhett DeHart, announced Thursday that a federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment against 39-year-old Star Barkley of Ladson and 30-year-old Audrina Lincoln of Charleston for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to the indictment, the two conspired a plan to defraud and obtain money by “means of false and fraudulent pretenses” while working for the Days Inn hotel on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston.

It alleges that the pair would re-open guests accounts – with zero balances – who had been checked out, typically one to four months after their stay, and adjust various revenues posted to the account.

“These revenue adjustments would result in a credit balance on the account,” according to DeHart. “To check-out and close the account, the remaining credit balance would have to be issued to some method of payment.”

DeHart said Barkley and Lincoln would refund the credit balances to debit cards and bank accounts they controlled, as well as debit cards and bank accounts of other parties who would transfer money back to the defendants.

The indictment also alleges that the pair would provide false guest satisfaction complaints and other false representations in the hotel’s electronic database to justify the revenue adjustments.

“It is alleged in the indictment that, at a minimum, $153,000 was unlawfully obtained in the scheme,” said DeHart. “Barkley and Lincoln face up to 20 years of imprisonment on the charges.”

The case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service and the City of Charleston Police Department.

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