A Soldotna woman admitted to police that she altered around 100 gift and credit card transactions totaling $677 in tips in a five-month span at a café she worked at in the Blazy Mall in Soldotna.
Ellanora Nelson, 18, was arrested on March 14 and charged with scheme to defraud, a Class B Felony, and unauthorized use of access device, a Class C Felony. If convicted on both charges, Nelson could face a maximum of 15 years in prison and $150,000 fine.
Soldotna Police were contacted by Corner Café owner Cynthia Day on March 13 to report her employee Nelson, who had quit the day before, had altered gift and credit card receipts to increase her tips, according to a police report filed by Officer Stephen Clary.
Nelson admitted to Day she started altering receipts back in November and wanted to talk with police to resolve the incident, according to the affidavit.
During an interview with police, Nelson said she would only charge people for a few items and would take the rest of the bill and place it into the tip column to prevent the customer from noticing the extra money taken from the card, according to the report.
Day provided police with multiple credit card receipts changed by Nelson from December to March. The following day the owner called police after discovering several more receipts that had rather large tip amounts added for small purchases, according to the affidavit.
One of the café customers contacted the owner about his purchase of a mocha drink back in November and had been charged $16.91 on a credit card the customer never uses. The customer told Day he left his wallet on the counter after purchasing the drink and walked away, according to the report.
Day did not want to comment on her former employee, but said it is a “terrible and unfortunate incident” and she wants to do her best to make it right for her customers. She said if people who feel they were mischarged in the last five months can come in and she would work with them to correct it.
Nelson was placed under arrest and arraigned in Kenai District Court on March 15. At a bail hearing two days later, Judge Martin Fallon set Nelson’s bail at $5,000 with 10 percent paid in cash. Joel Nelson posted $500 appearance bond for her release.
Attorney William Walton is representing Nelson. Her next court date is Friday at the Kenai Courthouse.
Reach Dan Balmer at email@example.com.