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Local interior decorator sentenced on fraud charges

November 16, 2012

St. Louis, MO - Kay Ottinger, owner of Well Appointed, Inc., was sentenced to15 months in prison for overbilling clients by inflating invoices, causing them to overpay $980,347.

According court documents, Kay T. Ottinger owned and operated Well Appointed, Inc., an interior decorating service in the St. Louis area. Ottinger sold design services for a fee and/or a commission. She worked with architects to create an interior design layout of a residence, and with landscape architects to determine proposed location and design of exterior portions of residential properties. She also purchased interior and exterior furniture, fixtures, accessories, drapes, flooring and wall coverings for residential properties. In return for her services, Ottinger received an agreed upon flat fee based on her actual cost, plus a commission percent based on her actual cost.

Ottinger admitted with her plea that she submitted itemized cost figures for her goods and services that were falsely inflated. In some instances she created fictitious invoices of "straw" companies to conceal the actual cost of goods and services. This scheme caused the clients/victims to overpay Ottinger $980,347. In addition to her prison sentence, Ottinger was ordered to pay full restitution of $980,347.

KAY OTTINGER, St. Louis, MO, pled guilty May 30 to three felony counts of mail fraud. She appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Jean C. Hamilton.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. First Assistant United States Attorney Michael W. Reap handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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