*The owner of a travel agency in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish was arrested after being accused of bilking several dozen 2018 Essence Festival attendees out of tens of thousands of dollars for vacation packages that she didn’t deliver, reports NOLA.com.
Nakesia Washington, the 41-year-old owner of OBL Travel LLC., was booked Aug. 2 with theft of more than $25,000, theft valued between $5,000 and $24,999 and two counts of computer fraud, said Lt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Two complaints are at the root of the case, one from a group of family and friends traveling to the festival from Philadelphia, the other from a Nashville woman who worked with Washington’s company to arrange travel for about 25 people.
The Sheriff’s Office says it has received complaints from several dozen other OBL customers who had been expecting hotel reservations, party passes and tickets to the popular, July 4-weekend music festival. Detectives estimate the reported losses at about $80,000, according to Rivarde.
“We expect the number of cases and the monetary losses to grow as additional cases come in,” said Rivarde, who noted the Sheriff’s Office is investigating with the assistance of the FBI.
Washington was released Sunday (Aug. 5) from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Grenta on a $45,000 bond.
Anyone who believes that they were the victims of fraud or lost money to OBL Travel is asked to contact Detective Stephen Bowman with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit by calling 504-364-5235.