PORT ST. LUCIE (CBSMiami) – Police have arrested a June bride after she admitted to charging her Seminole Hard Rock Casino wedding to her employers’ credit cards.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, La Reese Michelle Darville, 31, was jailed on fraud and grand theft charges Monday. Police say she charged the wedding’s $50,000 bills to credit cards in the names of her bosses, including her father.
Police were tipped to the crime by one of the owners of Partners III Pawn Shop in Port St. Lucie who got notices about late payments on a credit card the company had not used for two years. One of the cards was $10,000 over its limit, according to a Port St. Lucie police report.
An investigator met with Darville’s father and another of the pawn shop’s owners on Nov. 21. They confirmed that Darville, an employee of eight years who managed the business’s finances, had charged about $50,000 for her wedding on the cards. They told police she’d also made payments on the cards using the business’s checking account.
The Sun Sentinel reported that only one charge of $10,000 was authorized by her father on the business credit card in his name, but none of the others nor the debits from the checking account were approved, according to the police report.
Total expenses for the wedding were $49,286.24, and police say Darville paid off $17,161.49 of the balances using the pawn shop’s checking account.
Darville told police that she had reimbursed the business for the amount paid (except for $3,000) from the checking account with personal cash that she mingled into the store’s daily cash flow and from voluntary garnishment of her paychecks, but said she had no records to prove this. Police said she is responsible for calculating her own hours worked.
The lavish June 1 wedding lasted 12 hours at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood. The newspaper reported that it featured makeup and hair services, party rentals, lavish floral displays, an event planner, a ceremony in the casino’s grand ballroom, a professional photographer who took nearly 1,000 images, and a reception and dinner that ended at midnight.
Jupiter wedding photographer Sara Kauss told the Sun Sentinel that she’s not sure how the illicit charges will affect her business. She’s turned over paperwork for the wedding contract and the charges for her services, totalling several thousand dollars, to detectives.
“This is just an awful thing for someone to do,” Kauss told the newspaper in an email. “I can’t imagine if a trusted business manager stole that amazing amount from me.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel, detectives interviewed Darville at police headquarters on Monday, where she admitted to the fraud, saying that she intended to repay the full amount. She was booked into jail after the interview.