LA-area salon owner gets probation for credit scam

A Beverly Hills beauty salon owner was sentenced Monday to five years of probation, including nine months in home confinement, for lifting information from credit cards belonging to her celebrity clients such as Liv Tyler and Jennifer Aniston, and ringing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus charges.

Maria Gabriela Hashemipour, 51, also was ordered to complete 3,000 hours of community service, U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said. A restitution hearing was set for Oct. 17.

Hashemipour pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court to one count of access device fraud.

"I'm extremely sorry for what I have done," Hashemipour told U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real before her sentence was imposed, according to City News Service.

Prosecutors had asked for 2 1/2 years in prison, but the judge said he decided on probation due to the Hashemipour's health and to allow her to work toward repayment, City News Service said.

Hashemipour was arrested last August at her business and residence, Chez Gabriela Studio. Her website said her clientele includes Aniston, Halle Berry and Cher.

Two of Tyler's credit cards had about $214,000 in fraudulent charges from the studio over a five-month period last year, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

The case came to the attention of investigators after jewelry designer Loree Rodkin's attorney said about $68,000 had been charged to her credit card from Hashemipour's studio without her authorization.

Hashemipour offered $25,000 worth of products in exchange for the charges, but Rodkin refused, the affidavit said.

Rodkin also told authorities she knew of other clients, such as Anne Hathaway, who had similar charges on their credit card, the affidavit said. The indictment showed that in July 2009, more than $16,000 in charges were made to the American Express card of a victim identified as "A.H."

Prosecutors declined to release names of other victims, but other victims named in the affidavit included Melanie Griffith, Penelope Cruz and actor Scott Speedman, City News Service reported.