TWIN FALLS — A Twin Falls woman is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from strangers on the internet using a ruse on Facebook.
Krystal Meyer, 39, faces two counts of grand theft, four counts of petit theft and one count of fraud by computer.
Police began investigating Meyer after a Texas woman reported in September that she had sent Meyer $792 to pay for a hotel room in Salt Lake City. The woman was planning to attend a training conference for the essential oils company DoTerra, she said, and Meyer posted on a DoTerra Facebook page that she had reserved a block of hotel rooms for the conference.
The woman said that after she paid Meyer using money transfer app Venmo, she contacted the hotel and learned that Meyer had canceled the reservation without paying for the room. When she asked Meyer for her money back, court records said, Meyer said she would return the money but never did.
The hotel confirmed to police that Meyer had indeed reserved a block of 38 rooms under the condition that the guests would have to pay for their own rooms when they arrived, according to court documents. A hotel employee told police Meyer had canceled the reservations through travel site Expedia.
Over the course of the investigation, at least nine other women from around the country — and two from Canada and England — reached out to Twin Falls police to report that Meyer had done the same thing to them, according to an affidavit. Each woman said she had paid Meyer between about $800 and $1,100 for a hotel room.
When contacted by her parole officer, Meyer admitted to receiving between $5,000 and $6,000 from various people. Meyer said she had paid several hundred dollars back to some of the people, but no longer had any of the other money, according to the affidavit.
In police interviews, Meyer said the hotel itself had canceled the reservations due to the method of payment. The hotel denied this, saying the reservations were made under the condition that individual guests would pay upon arrival.
Meyer told investigators she used her debit card to pre-pay for the rooms. When asked to show police her debit card statement, she ended the interview and requested an attorney, according to court documents.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 4.