Danville Woman Sentenced To 22 Months In Federal Prison For Embezzling $1.7 Million From Public Company
OAKLAND – Gina Suzanne Lonestar was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison in connection with a wire fraud scheme pursuant to which she embezzled over $1.7 million from her former employer, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The sentence was handed down by the Hon. Jon S. Tigar, United States District Judge.
Lonestar, 52, of Danville, Calif., pleaded guilty to the charge on May 19, 2023. According to her plea agreement, Lonestar admitted that, in December 2010, she devised a scheme to create a fake vendor to defraud Men’s Wearhouse and later Tailored Brands (Men’s Wearhouse’s parent company) of money by submitting and approving false invoices for the fake vendor to the accounts payable department. Lonestar created a document stating the vendor was a sole proprietorship associated with a family member and then began submitting and approving invoices falsely claiming the vendor was performing work at Men’s Wearhouse stores throughout California, such as inspections and handyman work. Lonestar admitted that she submitted and approved false invoices in the name of the fake vendor for approximately eight years, defrauding her employer of over $1.7 million, which was paid to her joint checking account. Lonestar admitted that the vendor did not exist and the family member with whom she co-owed the company performed none of the work for which she provided invoices.
At the time Lonestar devised the scheme, she was a Director in the Facilities Department of Men’s Wearhouse. During the relevant time period she was promoted to Senior Director of Facilities and Corporate Services and then to Vice President of Construction, Maintenance, and Facilities. In all of her roles, she had the authority to approve invoices for work done by vendors. Lonestar’s scheme ended in 2019 when the company discovered the conduct during an internal audit.
On September 8, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted Lonestar charging her with six counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Pursuant to her plea agreement, Lonestar pleaded guilty to one count and the court dismissed the remaining counts during her sentencing hearing.
In addition to the 22-month sentence, Judge Tigar ordered Lonestar to pay a $1,736,216 forfeiture money judgment and to serve three years of supervised release which will begin after she leaves prison. Judge Tigar ordered that Lonestar begin serving her sentence on January 5, 2024. In addition, Judge Tigar scheduled a hearing for December 1, 2023, to determine issues regarding restitution.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Noah Stern with assistance from Elizabeth Kim and Kathleen Turner. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.