A former HBO talent relations manager has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $1 million from the premium cabler. In her plea agreement, Jennifer Choi acknowledged that she submitted fraudulent invoices and illegally took $940,000 from HBO, where she’d worked for nearly 10 years.
“Ms. Choi has admitted to bilking her employer out of nearly a million dollars through a fraud scheme that used a fake company that provided no services,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker. “This long-term scheme violated both her duty to her employer as well as federal law, and Ms. Choi now faces serious consequences beyond losing her job.”
Choi, who was fired in September 2014, was responsible for scheduling services – such as hairstyling, wardrobe and makeup – for actors associated with HBO shows. As part of her scheme, she set up a company called Shine Glossy, which she used to submit bogus invoices to HBO for style and makeup services. But according to court documents, the services never were provided, and HBO funds instead went directly into a bank account she had established. Through Shine Glossy, she submitted nearly 300 fraudulent invoices that led HBO to pay roughly $940,000.
She also admitted that she used a car service for herself, her family and her friends and provided HBO’s account information, which led the car service to bill HBO for the unauthorized rides. As this part of that scheme, she fraudulently obtained about $63,000 in car services that were paid for by HBO.
The three charges to which she pleaded guilty – two counts of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion – carry a maximum prison sentence of 45 years, though it’s believed that her sentence will be significantly less than that.