By Stacey Leasca
July 08, 2019
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A Travel agent named Nakesia Washington from Harvey, Louisiana may be out of the vacation planning game for a few years. That’s because she’ll be spending nearly the next decade behind bars after swindling tourists out of $80,000 on bogus trips.

According to Nola.com, Washington pleaded guilty to felony theft in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna after fraudulently selling travel packages for the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans.

Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach, Nola.com reported, gave Washington a 15-year sentence. However, Kovach also suspended the last six years of the sentence and ordered Washington to spend at least three of those six years on active probation. This means, in total, Washington will spend at nine years in prison for her crimes unless she is released early for good behavior.

According to the local CBS station 4WWL, Washington was the sole proprietor of OBL Travel. She used that company to sell fake packages to the festival. The Jefferson Parish DA’s office told 4WWL, Washington sold the would-be visitors fake hotel reservations, VIP party passes, concert tickets, travel insurance and other festival-related purchases.

Sadly, Washington’s customers didn’t realize the scam until they arrived in New Orleans for the event.

At the hearing, Kovach heard impact statements from some of Washington’s 98 victims, many of whom had saved up thousands of dollars for what they thought was a dream vacation.

Kierra Spruill, a victim of Washington’s scam, told the court in her letter that she and six of her friends paid $1,219 each for their trip. However, when they arrived and had no hotel reservation she said she felt “empty, sad and confused.”

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