Hotel GM admits to stealing 900K, enters plea

The former general manager of Sleep Inn hotel in Allendale is facing a number of charges after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a credit card scheme. (November 22, 2014)

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) – The former general manager of Sleep Inn hotel in Allendale has agreed to plead guilty of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a credit card scheme.

Renata Nicole Annese is set to enter a plea agreement on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

Under the plea agreement, Annese faces up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. She will also have to pay $872,000 in restitution.

According to the plea agreement, 14 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering will be drop at sentencing.

Annese stole nearly $900,000 by directing credit card payments to her own accounts, according to court documents.

She was hired as general manager for the hotel back in 2004. She was responsible for processing credit card transactions and daily operations.

Investigators said Annese was conducting a credit card scheme that began in October 2006 and ended in April 2013.

The credit and debit cards swiped at the hotel would cause wire transmissions to be made through corporate services in Arizona and then through a system called “Shift4″ in Nevada.

Shift4 would then send authorization requests to the issuing bank for each customer and stored the authorized transactions on its computer system. When the customer was finished with their stay, credit and debit card authorizations were changed over to actual payments.

Annese would log onto Shift4 using a unique account number, password, and user name and would edit or remove transactions before releasing them for final processing and payment to the hotel.

She would manually enter her credit card or debit card account numbers in the system and used a customer’s name to make it look like the transaction belonged to that customer. This made the fraudulent transaction appear to be a legitimate refund to that customer.

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