Fraudulent transactions date back to 2012. Hotel gift cards not only inspire travel and hospitality, they often become a source of incremental revenue during off-peak months for hoteliers. At the same time, without proper controls and oversight, gift cards can be an easy and inviting opportunity for employee fraud. WBTW News, Jo Brown, discloses a three year alleged embezzlement scheme involving hotel gift certificate amounting to thousands of dollars.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A former Myrtle Beach hotel employee was arrested Monday following allegations made in March that he had improperly distributed nearly $200,000 worth in gift cards from his employer.
Shezan Ahmed, 29, was arrested Monday on charges of breach of trust / fraud greater than $10,000 after he was identified as a suspect in a possible embezzlement case.
According to a Myrtle Beach Police incident report, officers first responded to a fraud report March 27 at Marriott at Grande Dunes. Once officers arrived at the hotel, management explained that a batch of gift cards was not properly accounted for by Ahmed. The manager was researching gift card discrepancies earlier in the month when he discovered that the cards were signed for by Ahmed for an operations customer issue which was determined to be inaccurate.
Police state that a regional team was brought in for an audit at the hotel, and they discovered similar fraudulent transactions dating back to mid 2012. The police report states the total value of the missing gift cards is more than $190,000.
The American Express gift cards were in the amounts of $50 and $100 and were ordered for guest premiums at the Marriott at Grande Dunes. Hotel paperwork shows Ahmed documented he signed over several gift cards to three other hotel employees who worked at the front desk, but those employees never received the gift cards.
The hotel manager also reported that the audit discovered journal entries by Ahmed in attempts to cover up the transactions. The manager told police that when he called Ahmed in to discuss the discrepancy, Ahmed immediately resigned.