Corona Woman Sent Back to Prison for Executing Celebrity-Based Scam Soon After Release from Custody in Prior Fraud Cases
LOS ANGELES – A Corona woman who recently completed a 79-month federal prison sentence stemming from a $15 million bank fraud scheme was ordered back to prison on Monday for executing a similar fraud scheme in which she lied to a victim about celebrities such as LeBron James supporting her supposed venture.
Carolyn Marie Jones, 57, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 20 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald after she admitted violating the terms of her supervised release. Once she completes this prison stint, Jones will be on supervised release for 40 months.
At Monday’s hearing, Jones admitted that she violated the terms of her supervised release by defrauding a victim in violation of California law. While still in custody and then immediately after being placed on supervised release, Jones fraudulently obtained a $13,000 investment “through a myriad of lies, false pretenses, and material omissions,” court documents state.
According to documents filed by prosecutors, Jones purported to be a successful and well-connected denim jeans entrepreneur, claiming that numerous celebrities supported her denim brand, including the Kardashian and Jenner families, Taylor Swift, Floyd Mayweather, Chrissy Teigen, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Jones also falsely claimed that LeBron James had offered her $500,000 for equity in her company.
“In the wake of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and one of his daughters, [Jones] used their deaths as a way to prop up her company and bolster her carefully-crafted image of being a well-connected entrepreneur,” the government’s sentencing memorandum states. Text messages show that Jones falsely told the victim that she was in contact with the Bryant family after the crash, consoling them, and that prior to his death, Bryant had wanted his daughters to be the “face” of her denim brand.
Jones admitted on Monday that she violated other terms of her release by failing to disclose an open line of credit, failing to disclose an open bank account, and engaging in a business involving the solicitation of funds without the express prior approval of her probation officer.
As he ordered her back to federal prison, Judge Fitzgerald told Jones: “This is the final chance.” If Jones violates any term of her supervised release again, Judge Fitzgerald said that he would give her the “harshest sentence” permitted by law.
The prison sentence completed earlier this year was the result of two cases against Jones – one involving bank loans and bankruptcy fraud, and another involving a wire fraud scheme Jones perpetrated while free on bond in the first case. Both indictments stemmed from Jones’s false portrayal of herself as a successful and well-connected denim jeans entrepreneur. Jones’s fraud schemes related to her company, DDI, sometimes known as Diamond Decisions, Inc., which sold high-end jeans under the labels Privacywear and PRVCY Premium.
Jones pleaded guilty in February 2015 to one count of bank fraud and one count of concealing assets in bankruptcy. Jones “executed not one, but two, fraud schemes of epic proportions resulting in a loss to Union Bank and numerous investors of $15,124,100,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
When she received the 79-month sentence in December 2015, Judge Fitzgerald characterized Jones as “truly a greedy, awful person.”
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the United States Secret Service.
The cases against Jones were handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Ruth C. Pinkel and Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.
Anyone who has information about Jones’s conduct or thinks they may be a victim of Jones is encouraged to contact IRS Criminal Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office at (213) 372-4490.