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Local bartender facing charges after allegedly scamming brides out of thousands

Several brides across the Pacific Northwest have accused a Thurston County bartender of scamming brides out of thousands of dollars on their wedding day.

‘PNW Weddings Cocktails With Kari’ is a licensed business out of Washington. Kari Kelley, the owner of the bartending company, sparked the interest of Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board following our initial report in November.

According to Captain Josh Bolender with the Liquor and Cannabis Board, six complainants came forward, sharing their frustrations and the contracts they signed with Kari Kelley.

“The contracts we received from the complainants offered services ranging from $475 to $2,000, and that prompted us to conduct an undercover investigation of the business,” said Captain Bolender. “An officer met with Kari Kelley in an undercover capacity and provided a $700 deposit for alcohol and bartending services for a fictitious wedding, and then a non-custodial arrest was made shortly after that contact.”

He added that the board quickly determined Kelley was not licensed to sell alcohol in the state of Washington.

However, “she did have a server permit in the state of Washington and also a server permit in the state of Oregon.”

A non-custodial arrest means no handcuffs or jail bookings took place. Instead, Kelley was told that she had committed a crime and that charges would be sent to the Thurston County Prosector’s Office.

According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, Kari Kelley has been charged with a misdemeanor, “Attempting to Act Without A Liquor License.”

KIRO 7 has requested the records surrounding this case and the pending charges. This story will be updated once we’ve obtained those records.