A 39 year old Los Angeles woman, Jennifer Choi, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $1 million over her 10 year career.
Choi’s job was to schedule hairstyling and makeup services for HBO’s actors and actresses. Without HBO’s knowledge, Choi developed her own company called Shine Glossy, which claimed to provide makeup and styling services, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Through her company, Shine Glossy, she submitted phony invoices for services that were not provided, falsely using the names of actors, making the invoices appear legitimate.
This fraudulent billing scheme started in 2008 and continued until she was terminated in 2014, illegitimately earning her over $900,000 in income.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeffrey Chemerinsky wrote in a sentencing memorandum, “Almost all of this money appears to have been spent to support an extravagant lifestyle.”
However, Choi’s defense attorney, Zoe Dolan felt that Choi’s misconduct derived from her HIV diagnosis.
Choi wrote a publicly filed letter to the judge where she stated that she “spiraled out of control” after she was diagnosed with HIV in 2007. Choi, who grew up in Pacific Palisades, said that she tried to maintain a veneer of success and perfection, and was trying to put others’ needs before her own. She pleaded for leniency, telling the judge she had two kids she wanted to raise with respect and integrity.
Choi pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion for failing to report her ill-earned money.
A U.S. district judge sentenced Choi to 30 months in federal prison, close to $1 million in restitution to HBO and $283,000 in restitution to the I.R.S.
If you or someone you love is suspected of fraud, call Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.