Ex-Savannah B&B manager sentenced to prison for embezzling more than half a million dollars

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAVANNAH, GA:  The former manager of a Savannah bed and breakfast has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting she embezzled more than $500,000 from her employer.

Chiquita Blake, 47, of Pooler, Ga., was sentenced to 51 months in prison after pleading guilty to Wire Fraud, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. also ordered her to pay $508,114.37 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release and perform 40 hours of community service after completion of her prison term. 

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Chiquita Blake was a trusted employee of a family owned business, and stole from her employer to fuel a lifestyle far beyond her means,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “She’s now being held accountable for her unbridled greed.”

As described in court documents and testimony, Blake was employed as a manager of a bed and breakfast in Savannah’s Historic District from 2005 to 2020. From around May 2015 through December 2020, Blake manipulated the inn’s reservation system to fraudulently transfer funds from the inn’s accounts and into bank and credit card accounts that she controlled. She then used those funds for personal use and to make payments to some of her nearly three dozen credit accounts.

After the inn’s owner noticed discrepancies in accounting, an investigation determined that Blake had illegally transferred $508,114.37 from the hotel and into her own accounts.

“The U.S. Secret Service is committed to investigating complex fraud schemes in Savannah,” said Craig Reno, Resident Agent in Charge of the Savannah Resident Office of the U.S. Secret Service. “This was a particularly insidious scheme because the defendant exploited a position of trust within the company. The Secret Service and our law enforcement partners will investigate and criminally prosecute such fraud to the fullest extent of the law.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Bearden.