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News 13 Investigates: Woman's money returned after vacation rental fraud exposed

Karen Burke rented a cabin in the Bryson City area only to find out the ad was fake and her deposit and the cost of the rental -- a total of just more than $600 -- were gone. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Last month, News 13 followed a vacation rental scam from Greenville, South Carolina, to the Bryson City area of North Carolina to Henrico, Virginia.

The scam started with a Craigslist ad. The investigation included interviews with Swain County investigators, a national bank chain and the U.S. Secret Service. Now, an Upstate woman is getting her money back.

Karen Burke rented a cabin in the Bryson City area only to find out the ad was fake and her deposit and the cost of the rental -- a total of just more than $600 -- were gone.

The Swain County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Secret Service, working together, issued a search warrant for the bank account in which Burke deposited the money. The next time money was deposited, the bank froze the account. Authorities seized several thousand dollars, enough to repay Burke.

"It's hard, it's not impossible. We work a good number of these cases. It takes time," U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Matt Quinn, of the Charlotte office, said.

Investigators said it's unusual, but in this case they received cooperation from the bank.

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