Charleston Hotel Employees Charged in 21-Count Federal Indictment for Wire Fraud

Bribery and corruption concept in business and politics with caucasian businessman and cash money in white envelope

Charleston, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart stated today that a Federal Grand Jury has returned a 21-count indictment charging Star Barkley, 39, of Ladson, and Audrina Lincoln, 30, of Charleston, for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The indictment alleges that, from at least September 2017 through June 2019, while employees at the Days Inn hotel on Meeting Street in downtown Charleston, Barkley and Lincoln conspired to devise a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses.  Namely, the indictment alleges that Barkley and Lincoln would re-open guests accounts that were checked out and with zero balances, typically one to four months after the stay, and adjust various revenues posted to the account during the stay.  These revenue adjustments would result in a credit balance on the account.  To check-out and close the account, the remaining credit balance would have to be issued to some method of payment.

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The indictment further alleges that 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.  Additionally, the indictment alleges that Barkley and Lincoln would provide false guest satisfaction complaints and other false representations in the hotel 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.

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.  Assistant United States Attorney Allessandra E. Stewart is prosecuting the case.

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Acting United States Attorney DeHart stated that all charges in indictments are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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