A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment today against Jason Wilson, 34, formerly of Yosemite, charging him with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and taking property from Yosemite Lodge, in Yosemite National Park, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, between October 2011 and December 2012, Wilson manipulated approximately 50 reservations, and took approximately $87,800 in funds to which he was not entitled while assistant manager at Yosemite Lodge, a privately owned hotel located in Yosemite National Park.
According to the indictment, when guests of the lodge checked out after paying for their stay, Wilson would cause the lodge to refund the charges sometimes fabricating reasons for the refund, such as there were mice or bed bugs in the room. Rather than credit the guest’s credit card, however, Wilson directed the credit to his own personal debit card or his wife’s.
In other transactions, Wilson reversed a “did not appear” charge if a guest did not cancel the reservation and did not appear for the reservation. After the guest’s credit card was charged for the non-appearance, Wilson reversed the charge, but had the credit deposited into his own account and not the guest’s.
This case is the product of an investigation by National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch. Assistant United States Attorney Mia A. Giacomazzi is prosecuting the case.
If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Wilson faces a mandatory sentence of two years in prison. If convicted of wire fraud or theft in a special territory, Wilson faces five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.