NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana woman who stole thousands from nearly 100 Essence Festival attendees last year has been ordered to pay more than $94,000 in restitution to her victims.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that the prosecution determined the amount of restitution Nakesia Washington owed by adding up all the losses the victims were able to document.
Washington, of Harvey, pleaded guilty earlier this month to multiple theft and fraud charges, admitting to scamming a total of 98 people — all of whom lived out of state — who thought they were purchasing vacation packages, including festival tickets, hotel rooms and VIP passes, from her company, OBL Travel Agency.
But when they arrived in New Orleans, they realized they had been scammed. Investigators said Washington deposited over $240,000 into her business’s bank account, which the district attorney said she used to pay for personal expenses, such as dining out, paying for gas and shopping.
On July 3, state District Judge Ellen Kovach sentenced Washington to 15 years in prison, with six years suspended.
Authorities said Washington, 42, is required to pay $94,313 in restitution to her victims and more than $1,300 in court fees.