Key West wedding planner accused of defrauding 2 couples

Kathryn Bentley, 36, arrested on felony theft, fraud charges

Kathryn Bentley, 36, was arrested on felony grand theft and fraud charges.
Kathryn Bentley, 36, was arrested on felony grand theft and fraud charges.

KEY WEST, Fla. – A Key West woman who claimed to be a wedding planner was arrested Tuesday, accused of defrauding two couples who paid her to plan their nuptials in the Florida Keys.

Kathryn Bentley, 36, faces two counts each of felony grand theft and fraud.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said the couples found Bentley on a website that listed her as a wedding planner at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. Herrin said both couples made a down payment to Bentley for their weddings -- one scheduled for February and the other for November.

Herrin said the couple with the November wedding date became suspicious of Bentley when she prematurely charged their credit card in November 2015 for a second payment that, according to their contract, wasn't due until February.

The couple said that they contacted Bentley about it, and she promised to return the money, but she didn't. When they tried to contact her again, she didn't return their telephone calls. Eventually, they contacted the resort and learned that Bentley didn't work there and that there were no reservations made for their wedding.

A second couple also claimed to pay Bentley $23,000, but she never replied to them when they attempted to contact her. They also contacted the resort and learned that no payments had been made for a wedding.

Eventually, the couple heard from Bentley, who assured them that she would pay the resort, but she never did.

In January, both couples contacted the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to report being defrauded by Bentley.

Herrin said arrest warrants were issued for Bentley, and she turned herself in Tuesday at the Stock Island Detention Center.

Detectives are still investigating Bentley. Herrin said more charges may be pending.

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