You would think that anyone who is anyone in Hollywood would know better than to trust anyplace with the word "chez" in the name. But, it seems not. Big time stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Cher, Liv Tyler, Melanie Griffith and Anne Hathaway all have been reported as victims of credit card fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Chez Gabriela Studio.
The Chez Gabriela Studio is evidently responsible for some of the loveliest skin in LA-LA land; Aniston, Tyler and Hathaway being some of the glowing examples. However, according to the Associated Press, while charging high prices for her skin care services, Maria Gabriella Perez was also allegedly using her client's cards to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges. Tyler alone is said to have been charged $214,000 in bad fees.
Perez is being charged with two counts of fraud which may carry up to 25 years in prison if she is convicted. Credit card fraud is a federal crime described in part as when a person fraudulently obtains, takes, signs, uses, sells, buys, or forges someone else's credit or debit card or card information. Possibly in play in this case as well is the federal statue detailing fraud with access devices (18 U.S.C. §1029). This includes those dandy little swipe machines that allow credit card charges to be made with such ease when purchasing such things as groceries, jewels, and yes, skin care. Unfortunately, this machine can be used with ease by others who have access to card information as, allegedly, did Madame Perez. The maximum penalty for a violation of this law is 10 years in prison.
The AP reports that the attorney for one victim, jeweler Loree Rodkin, told investigators that nearly $68,000 had been charged to her credit card from Perez's studio without her authorization. Investigators said in Rodkin's case, most of the charges from Perez's studio were made when the credit card numbers were entered manually as opposed to the card being swiped.
Maria Gabriella Perez will not be giving facials at Chez Gabriella Studio this coming Thursday. She is expected in federal court.