Woman gets 90 days in jail for rental fraud
A Windward businesswoman who defrauded nearly $67,000 from individuals who arranged through her company to rent vacation rentals here was sentenced to five years' probation with 90 days in jail and ordered to pay restitution.
Kelly Denton, 45, pleaded no contest to 10 counts of second-degree theft last October for failing to refund customers who arrived here only to find that the arrangements were not made or the rentals were already occupied or not even being rented by the owner. They lodged criminal complaints against her after she filed for bankruptcy and failed to return their deposits.
Circuit Court Judge Richard Pollack ordered Denton to pay more than $44,000 in restitution to eight of the victims.
Deputy public defender Chris Van Marter had requested that she serve five years in prison because of her conduct, which began in January 2001 and continued until March 2003.
Defense attorney William Harrison said Denton's vacation rental business was doing well and got into trouble after Sept. 11, 2001.
The deposits that were coming in to book the rentals were used to keep her business afloat, and "she got in over her head and got to a point where she declared bankruptcy," he said.
On Wednesday, Denton apologized for her conduct and took responsibility by pleading to the charges.
"She really was sorry for what she did," Harrison said.