Clothing Store Owners Charged with Wire Fraud
It was announced Monday that seven individuals, including the owners of a women’s clothing store in San Antonio, face federal charges in connection with an estimated $1.6 million wire fraud scheme. The federal indictment accuses HipDingo owners Lea Ann Blystone, 46, and Manson Porter, 47, along with five contractors, of cheating land development companies Rinco of Texas, Inc., and Rockin’ J Ranch out of promotional services that were never provided.
Prosecutors say that Blystone was in charge of coordinating staffing and vendor payments for promotional booths and displace spaces while employed as the marketing director at Rinco and Rockin’ J. Between January 2009 and August 2011, Blystone allegedly forged the names of payees on checks to pay for fraudulent third party contractor invoices that exaggerated the actual operating costs of promotional booths in order to receive kickbacks.
Blystone also caused Rinco and Rockin’ J to fraudulently pay her ex-husband, Michael J. Webb, and fellow contractors Karen Lindsay, 48, Cheryl E. Hartsfield, 56, Roy E. Pokrant Jr., 47, and Thomas J. Worsham, 47 for staffing the promotional displays.
All of the defendants have been charged with wire fraud, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Blystone and Porter face witness tampering charges that carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. Blystone also faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the charge of making forged instruments.
These charges were the result of an investigation conducted by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William R. Harris is the prosecuting attorney for this case.