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Press Release

Entertainment Industry Business Manager Convicted of Defrauding Celebrity Clients, Bankruptcy Fraud, Tax Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A jury has convicted Kevin R. Foster, 42, of Montclair, N.J., of 16 charges related to a fraud scheme. He was found guilty of wire fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Richard E. Zuckerman, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the verdict reached after a trial that began Monday before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.

This case stems from the prior prosecution of Thomas E. Jackson and Preston J. Harrison, who collected approximately $9 million from investors under false pretenses to start and market the sports beverage “OXYwater” through their company, Imperial Integrative Health Research and Development (“Imperial”). The two were convicted by a federal jury in March 2015 of multiple wire fraud, money laundering and tax fraud charges.

Foster, as the principal of his management/accounting firm, Foster & Firm, Inc., and as business manager for Shaffer Smith (“Ne-Yo”), induced Smith to invest $2 million into OXYwater under false representations. Unbeknownst to Smith, Foster 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.

Foster also defrauded a second celebrity client, Brian McKnight, as a way to secure money to help keep Imperial solvent.

Foster also stole millions of dollars from Smith and McKnight’s bank accounts in order to fund the operations of OXYwater as well as his own lavish lifestyle, including multiple luxury vehicles, a personal driver, designer watches, and season tickets to the New York Giants and New York Knicks.

Smith and McKnight agreed to invest in the company, not knowing that Foster was receiving a substantial commission based on their investments,that he served as an officer/controller of Imperial, and that he controlled an Imperial bank account.

In addition, Foster failed to report on his 2012 and 2013 tax returns the millions of dollars that he stole from Smith and McKnight. He also claimed millions of dollars in bogus deductions in order to further reduce his tax liability.

Foster was charged in an original, seven-count indictment in July 2016. A superseding indictment containing 10 counts was returned in November 2017. The final, second superseding indictment added six more charges in May 2018.

U.S. Attorney Glassman and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Jason M. Scheff, who are prosecuting the case.

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Updated August 28, 2018

Financial Fraud