Greene County florist with $100K judgment wanted after no-show in criminal case

Dec. 1—A Greene County florist ordered to pay more than $100,000 in a civil judgment for jilting dozens of brides across Southwest Ohio out of tens of thousands of dollars is now wanted for not appearing in court for a criminal case.

Desiree Pace, 40, of Xenia Twp., proprietor of the former Flowers by Des, was scheduled to appear Thursday for a plea hearing in Hamilton County. A grand jury indicted her in October 2022 for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two counts of theft and one count of telecommunications fraud, all felony charges.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Lisa Allen issued a warrant for Pace’s arrest, with a bond of $10,000 if she is apprehended, according to the document.

However, Pace is in the Greene County Jail, where she has been held since Nov. 22 for violating bond conditions in an unrelated criminal case accusing her of passing bad checks. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 22 in Greene County Common Pleas Judge Michael Buckwalter’s courtroom.

Inmates routinely travel for hearings in courts out of county, so it is not clear whether Pace did not notify her attorney she was incarcerated. The public defender representing her in the Hamilton County case on Friday declined to comment.

Buckwalter in May 2022 issued a judgment against Pace for her to pay more than $100,000 in fines and restitution in a civil lawsuit after she failed to provide flowers for at least 48 customers’ weddings and other events, in violation of state consumer protection laws.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed the lawsuit in September 2021 after receiving several dozen complaints from residents across Southwest Ohio, he said.

Pace required clients to “make a substantial down payment of 50% or more” for her services when the contract was signed, according to court documents, with the balance due by the event date.

Court records include email exchanges between customers and Flowers by Des in which some were alerted that flowers would not be at their wedding “due to unfortunate circumstances.” The brides asked for refunds and, in signed affidavits, say they never got one.

“For some consumers, defendant never contacted the consumers and failed to provide the flowers on the day of the consumers’ weddings or other events,” the lawsuit stated.

In the Hamilton County criminal case, Pace is accused of using deception to collect $31,500 from 28 people who contracted with her between Aug. 2, 2019, and June 24, 2021, according to her indictment.

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