Essence Fest scammer to pay restitution

Duped visitors out of more than $94,000

Don Ames
July 18, 2019 - 9:53 pm

A Harvey woman who stole thousands of dollars from nearly 100 Essence Festival attendees has been ordered to pay her victims more than $94,000 in restitution.

The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office said that the prosecution determined the amount of restitution that 42-year-old Nakesia Washington owed by adding up all of the losses that the victims were able to document.

Earlier this month, Washington pled guilty to multiple theft and fraud charges, admitting to scamming a total of 98 people from out of state who thought they were purchasing Essence Fest vacation packages. Those packages were to include festival tickets, hotel rooms and VIP passes from Washington's company, OBL Travel Agency.

When they arrived in New Orleans, however, they realized they had been duped. Investigators say that Washington deposited over $240,000 into her business’s bank account, which the district attorney said she used to pay for personal expenses...dining out, and paying for gas and shopping.

District Judge Ellen Kovach sentenced Washington to 15 years in prison, with six years suspended.

She is required to pay $94,313 in restitution to her victims and more than $1,300 in court fees.

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