WAYNE COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A Wayne County grand jury has indicted a woman on charges saying she took thousands of dollars from high school seniors to book them on a cruise, but didn’t.
The 10-page indictment shows the 34 counts of theft by conversion - one for each of the teenage victims and families along with a count of racketeering.
Prosecutors accuse Jackie Bozeman Dean of taking money from seniors to book passage on a cruise after graduation. The indictment says she started accepting the money in July of 2017 for the 2018 seniors, and took it through the school year as students made deposits and payments. She was supposed to pass it along to the cruise line. Then, less than three weeks from graduation, parents learned their senior did not have reservations, and some had balances due when they thought they were paid.
Parents met with investigators, and prosecutors started trying to count victims and the amount of money involved.
“We’re just glad something’s actually being done. For the longest time, nothing was being done and nobody was working on anything,” said parent, Gail Moore.
The Moore’s were among the families shocked to find they had no cruise reservations. They’d paid for the whole family to go. Then, the class learned the cruise ship had no bookings for them.
Assistant District Attorney John Johnson says racketeering refers to a pattern of committing a crime. He says Dean took payment after payment from victims.
“She published flyers, she was on Facebook, she talked with people back and forth. She even took money from people for the 2019 cruise,” Johnson said.
He called the case an accountant’s nightmare to figure out the charges. Gail hopes to see Dean in a courtroom sooner rather than later to answer questions for what happened.
“I think she should pay for what she’s done. She needs to acknowledge what she did and that what she did was wrong,” Moore said.
There is no word yet on when Dean could face trial. We’ll follow the case and let you know about any developments.