Celebrity Manager Charged with Wire Fraud, Money Laundering Related to OXYwater Case
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Kevin R. Foster, 40, of Montclair, N.J. with wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in an indictment returned in Columbus.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, announced the indictment returned today.
This case stems from the prior prosecution of Thomas E. Jackson and Preston J. Harrison, who raised approximately $9 million from investors under false pretenses to start and market the sports beverage “OXYwater.” The two were convicted by a jury of multiple wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud charges in March 2015.
This indictment alleges that Foster, the principal of his management/accounting firm, Foster & Firm, Inc., and who served as business manager for Shaffer Smith (“Ne-Yo”), induced Smith to invest $2 million into OXYwater under false representations. Foster served as an officer or controller of Imperial Integrative Health Research & Development, LLC in Westerville, Ohio with Jackson and Harrison. Foster did not disclose to Smith that he served as a controller for the company or that he would earn commission based on investments.
Unbeknownst to Smith, Foster allegedly invested an additional $1.5 million of Smith’s money into the product without his consent and fraudulently took out $1.4 million in lines of credit under Smith’s name by forging his signature. It is alleged that Foster received approximately $800,000 in finder’s fees based on Smith’s investments into OXYwater.
Foster was charged with three counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering are each crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who is prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.