A former manager in HBO’s Talent Relations Department was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison for stealing about $1 million from the network by submitting bogus invoices.
Jennifer Choi, 39, of Valley Village, pleaded guilty in 2016 to a pair of wire fraud counts and one count of tax evasion. She is scheduled to surrender on March 14 to begin serving the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt.
Choi worked for nearly 10 years at HBO, where she was responsible for scheduling services — such as hairstyling, wardrobe and makeup — for actors associated with the network.
Using a company she created called Shine Glossy, Choi submitted bogus invoices to HBO for style and make-up services for actors that were never provided, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The HBO funds instead went directly into a bank account she had established.
Through Shine Glossy, Choi submitted nearly 300 fraudulent invoices that led HBO to pay about $940,000, according to federal prosecutors.
Choi admitted in her plea agreement 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 totaling nearly $63,000.
She was fired by HBO in September 2014.
David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said previously that Choi “stole $1 million from her employer by concocting a scheme to conceal her misdeeds — enriching herself by choosing greed over good judgment.”
Choi also admitted that she failed to file federal income tax returns for several years, even though she earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in the years 2011, 2013 and 2014, and significantly under-reported her income when she did file tax returns for the years 2010 and 2012.
—City News Service