Arts & Entertainment

Salon Owner Sentenced After Stealing Thousands From Celebrity Clients

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeHomesCredit and DebtJustice SystemU.S. Secret ServiceTheft

LOS ANGELES -- The owner of a swanky Beverly Hills beauty salon who admitted to running up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges of her celebrity clients was sentenced Monday.

Maria Gabriella Perez (aka. Maria Gabriela Hashemipour) was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real to five years' probation, during which she is required to serve nine months' home confinement and perform 3,000 hours of community service.

Perez was arrested in August 2010 by Secret Service agents at her business, Chez Gabriela Studio.

In January of this year, the 52-year-old plead guilty to the charges of fraud.

Federal officials said that Perez ran up approximately $68,000 in unauthorized charges on a credit card belonging to high-end jewelry designer Loree Rodkin.

Most of the charges were made from Chez Gabriela Studio when the numbers from the credit card were entered manually, meaning that the card was not "swiped."

Rodkin told investigators that "she had spoken with several other high-profile victims who stated that, after legitimately paying for services at the Studio, charges from the Studio would appear on their credit cards without authorization," according to the affidavit.

Rodkin also revealed that she knew of other clients that had suffered losses similar to hers.

She identified other victims as Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler, Melanie Griffith, Cher, Anne Hathaway and Scott Speedman.

In another instance, an investigator with American Express also told the Secret Service that he had discovered approximately $214,000 in fraudulent charges that were made from Chez Gabriela Studio to two American Express credit cards that had been issued to an actor.

These charges were incurred over a five-month period in 2009.

According to the complaint, Perez has a criminal record, including an arrest for shoplifting and writing checks with insufficient funds.

She has used 20 variations of her name, all with the same Social Security Number, and appears to have seven 7 judgments/liens against her and her property, according to the affidavit.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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