No-show wedding florist accused of scamming dozens of brides out of $31K
CINCINNATI (WXIX/Gray News) – A wedding florist is now facing charges in Ohio after allegedly scamming dozens of brides out of more than $31,000.
Desiree Pace was indicted on charges of theft, telecommunications fraud and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, according to Hamilton County court records.
Her alleged crimes happened from August 2019 to June 2021, documents show.
Pace, the owner of Flowers by Des, is accused of accepting payments from 28 people in Hamilton County for wedding floral services, her indictment reads.
She used texts, Facebook Messenger and emails to communicate with the customers, according to the court documents.
Angela Lemke, the owner of Angela’s Premier Event Designs, says she planned two different weddings with brides who had paid for Pace’s floral services.
Lemke says she and the brides-to-be were nervous about the lack of communication, and they called Pace for weeks until she finally answered.
Lemke says Pace told the families that she had been sick and was dealing with family problems, but assured everyone the flowers would make it on time, as long as she received the full payment before she delivered the flowers.
“I said, ‘you can do what you want, it’s your contract,’” recalled Lemke. “I said, ‘But that really concerns me that we’re sitting here telling her how we’re concerned about your business practices and you ask me for more money.’”
Lemke says her client paid the money to Flowers by Des.
Then, on the week of her client’s wedding, she says Pace called and canceled the delivery, as she allegedly did to others.
Pace either canceled the contracts within days of the events or failed to appear at the events without notice, a 2021 lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost claims.
For Roni Saul and her daughter, that story is all too familiar.
“Two of the friends reached out and said, ‘Hey, if you still need a flower person, she did a great job. We were really happy with her, and she’s running a special on her Facebook page right now,’” recalled Saul.
Saul says there was a familiar catch.
“You had to pay in full,” Saul said.
Saul says she and her daughter paid for the flowers together, which cost nearly $1,500, but after they spent the money, Pace allegedly stopped answering her phone. Saul went to the police.
“We filed a report they submitted to the attorney general,” says Saul. “I submitted them all my paperwork. Frequently, I will get a letter every now and again on where they stand and what’s going on with it.”
The no-show wedding florist’s alleged victims go beyond Hamilton County.
A lawsuit was filed two years ago in the Green County Common Pleas Court. Pace was accused of scamming 48 Ohioans out of more than $50,000, the lawsuit alleges.
Pace allegedly told customers who requested refunds that per their contracts, they had to wait 90 days to receive refunds, then misrepresented to customers the status of their refunds, according to the lawsuit.
In nearly all cases, the attorney general’s office says Pace did not issue any refunds.
Pace was arrested in November of 2021 for failure to appear, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office website.
She pleaded not guilty in Hamilton County Court and her bond was set at $50,000.
Flowers by Des is no longer in business.
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