A 26-year-old Edmond woman has been charged with five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses in Oklahoma County District Court after allegedly conning four Korean students out of more than $7,000. Laekin Brittany Darter is accused of posing as a travel agent and taking checks from the students in exchange for plane tickets home. However, the students say they were never given any plane tickets, and the itineraries provided by Darter were fraudulent. According to Edmond police, two students came forward in April and May saying they wrote personal checks to a woman claiming to be a travel agent. Eunju Kim and Jae Bae reported to police that they wrote checks to Darter totaling more than $4,000, but never received the plane tickets they were promised. Bae says that prior to finding out he was the victim of a scam, he referred Darter to friends and family. Police say that Darter received nearly $12,000 from at least seven other students. Ji Hye Min and Hyoshin Kwon are also listed as victims in the charges handed down last week. Edmond police detective Michael Chesley said he attempted to meet with Darter several times, but she never showed up. He showed the students' itineraries to another travel agent who said the ticket and registration numbers were invalid. Chesley then contacted GWT Travel of Rogers, Arkansas, where Darter claimed to work. The owner of GWT said that Darter has not worked for the company since January 2011, but that her knowledge from working there allowed her to make the itineraries look legitimate. Oklahoma fraud defense lawyers explain that obtaining money under false pretenses, much like other theft and white collar crimes, is punishable in varying degrees of severity dependent on the value of stolen property or cash.
- Less than $500 - misdemeanor; up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
- $500 to less than $1,000 - felony; up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000 and restitution to the victim(s)
- $1,000 or more - felony; up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000