FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA – A federal grand jury in Florence returned a five-count indictment against Troy Benjamin Bittner, 53, of Myrtle Beach, for defrauding a local resort of nearly $1 million during the pandemic .
The indictment alleges that Bittner, in his role as manager of the Carolina Pines RV Resort, used his access to the company’s credit card reservation system to commit wire fraud. Specifically, although some guests stayed at Carolina Pines, Bittner would still use the electronic payment system to initiate a refund as if those guests had canceled their reservations. According to the indictment, during the coronavirus pandemic, it was not uncommon for customers to cancel reservations. However, rather than directing refunds to credit cards on file, Bittner instead issued refunds to his own personal credit cards. During the 26-month window of Bittner’s alleged scheme, he received more than $800,000 in fraudulent refunds at the expense of Carolina Pines.
Bittner faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, in addition to forfeiture and restitution.
The case is being investigated by the US Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek A. Shoemake is prosecuting the case.
US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs said all charges in the indictment are charges only and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.