STUDIO CITY—On Thursday, January 12, a former HBO employee was sentenced to 30 months in prison and has to pay close to $1 million in restitution.
In 2016, Jennifer Choi, 39, pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $1 million from HBO by submitting fraudulent invoices for hair and makeup services that were never provided. The money went to Choi’s personal bank account. Choi was terminated from the company in 2014.
Choi, a Valley Village resident, worked at HBO for 10 years, where her duties included scheduling hair, makeup, and wardrobe services for actors who were part of the network. Through her fictitious company, Shine Glossy, she submitted nearly 300 fraudulent invoices totaling $940,000.
According to reports, Choi admitted in her plea that she used HBO’s account information to pay for a car service she used for herself, her family, and friends, totaling $63,000.
David Bowdich, Assistant Director overlooking the FBI’s Los Angeles Office, indicated that Choi, “stole $1 million from her employer by connecting a scheme to conceal her misdeeds—enriching herself by choosing greed over good judgement.” She pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion.
“This was a crime motivated by greed,” wrote Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeffrey Chemerinsky in a sentencing memorandum. “Almost all of this money appears to have been spent to support an extravagant lifestyle. Defendant was not driven to her crimes as many defendants who come before this court are: by need, by desperation or by the inability to do anything else.”
After completing her sentence, Choi will be under probation for 3 years, which includes 6 months of home confinement. She also has to pay back over $280,000 in back taxes to the IRS.
Jennifer Choi is scheduled to surrender to federal authorities on March 14, 2017.
Written By Michelle Zverev and Casey Jacobs