Former Yosemite hotel manager indicted for fraud

A federal grand jury on Thursday handed down a six-count indictment against a former Yosemite man, accusing him of stealing about $87,800 in funds from a privately owned hotel in Yosemite National Park.

Jason Wilson, 34, was charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and taking property from Yosemite Lodge, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release.

Efforts to reach Wilson by telephone Thursday were unsuccessful.

According to court documents, between October 2011 and December 2012, Wilson manipulated approximately 50 reservations, taking the nearly $90,000 in funds.

According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Wilson fabricated phony refunds to hotel customers and diverted the money refunded from the hotel to his own debit card. In some cases, officials said, Wilson allegedly diverted the bogus refund money into accounts belonging to his wife.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in the statement. “After the guest’s credit card was charged for the nonappearance, Wilson reversed the charge, but had the credit deposited into his own account and not the guest’s.”

The case was investigated 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, the Justice Department said.