A beauty salon boss accused of scamming A-list clients including Liv Tyler and Jennifer Aniston out of thousands of dollars has pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud as part of a plea deal.
Maria Hashemipour was arrested in August (10) on federal fraud charges for allegedly stealing her clients' credit card information and making fraudulent purchases on their behalf.
Hashemipour, owner of the exclusive Beverly Hills Chez Gabriela Studio, is said to have tallied $280,000 (£186,667) in unauthorised charges to clients including Aniston, Tyler, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Cher and Melanie Griffith.
On Friday (21Jan11) she entered a guilty plea to one count of access device fraud at Los Angeles federal court on the condition another 40 charges against her would be dropped.
The 51 year old faces a fine of up to $240,000 (£160,000) and a maximum 10-year prison term when she is sentenced at a later date. She has been ordered to pay back her victims in full.
Hashemipour also faces possible deportation from the U.S. after admitting she hails from Mexico, not Spain as she originally claimed when entering the country.
Hollywood jewellery designer Loree Rodkin, who first notified police of Hashemipour's scam when she reported that $63,000 (£42,000) was charged to her card without her authorisation, is glad justice has been served.
She says, "I'm happy it's over and she's going to jail. I've recovered the money from the credit card company. But it's the fact someone can steal from you who is in a position of trust. It's staggering."