Scammers are getting crafty! Chanette Lewis, a call center worker, is now facing serious fraud charges after she flipped city-funded hotel rooms for people with COVID-19 into her own off-the-books discounted hotel.
Lewis, 30, worked for an Office of Emergency Management call center that handled reservations for the city’s Hotel Room Isolation Program, which was created to provide a place for heath care workers exposed to COVID to quarantine.
The rooms, which were paid for by the government, were also available to regular people who caught the virus.
Chanette came up with the idea of using the health care workers’ information to book rooms for people who were simply looking for a cheap hotel stay and she pocketed the cash.
And how did she bring in business? Via Facebook.
In one post she allegedly wrote:
I’m Doing Hotels 60 Percent 5 star hotels I do not know exactly what hotel u would be place but I know it would be 5 star hotel … be cash app ready!!
Another post read:
Book Today, $300 For the whole monthhhhhhhhhhhhhh !! !! !! !!
But, we all know it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none. So, Chanette Lewis brought three friends in on the shenanigans.
In a private message to her 26-year-old co-conspirator, Tatiana Benjamin, Chanette allegedly wrote:
I stole some doctor numbers and emails … I was writing down they employed ID number lmao,.
I made 16K in 5 days I’m proud of myselfffff.
Tatiana responded, “Let’s get this bread while this sh*t active.”
“Exactly,” Chanette said.
Chanette ran the scheme with her friends from April 2020 to June 2020, while she worked for the program.
Within that short time frame, Chanette and her crew of scammers allegedly booked over 2,700 rooms in Manhattan and the Bronx at about $50 per night and $150 per week.
She also booked herself 28 nights at the hotels while claiming to be a health care worker.
In total, the scam left the government with a $400,000 bill to cover the rooms, according to a Manhattan federal prosecutor.
U.S. Attorney Special Agent Jared Eannucci in a complaint:
In various instances, those who bought fraudulently obtained program hotel rooms threw large parties, and sometimes even engaged in violence.
In early July, the city caught on to the scam and hotel “guests” who rented rooms from Chanette and Tatiana received an email from the Office of Emergency Management stating they were ineligible for the program and their reservations were canceled.
Tatiana sent Chanette a message on Facebook that said:
We goin to jail lmao.
Also charged with assisting Lewis were Tatiana Daniel, 27, and Heaven West, 21.
But, that’s not all, on top of the scam, Chanette has been charged with fraudulently obtaining $45,000 in unemployment benefits after she claimed she stopped working because of the pandemic in February 2020.
Issa wrap for this Hotel Hottie.
Source: NY Daily News