San Antonio-Area Businesswoman Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating Estimated $1.6 Million Fraud Scheme
The owner and managing partner of HipDingo stores in San Antonio, Boerne and Fredericksburg and former marketing director for a land development company, Rinco of Texas, Inc. (Rinco), and Rockin’ J Ranch (Rockin’ J) faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to orchestrating an estimated $1.6 million wire fraud scheme announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs.
Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge John Primomo this afternoon in San Antonio, 47–year-old Boerne, TX, resident Lea Ann Blystone pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to forfeit to the government any and all HipDingo inventory, assets and equipment; five real estate properties in Kendall County (TX); and, three vehicles. By pleading guilty, Blystone admitted that from January 2009 until August 2011, she devised and implemented a scheme to defraud Rinco and Rockin’ J to obtain money and other property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses.
As marketing director for Rinco and Rockin’ J, Blystone coordinated staffing and vendor payments for promotional booths or display space at shows, malls, sporting and other events. Blystone caused Rinco and Rockin’ J to fraudulently pay her ex-husband and Rockin’ J contractor, 49-year-old Michael J. Webb of San Antonio; 48-year-old Rockin’ J contractor Karen Lindsay of Boerne; and 56-year-old Boerne resident and Rockin’ J contractor Cheryl E. Hartsfield for staffing the promotional displays. In some instances, Rinco and Rockin’ J paid for services when no promotion had been done at all at a stated location, or for work performed for the benefit of Blystone at HipDingo.
Webb, Lindsay and Hartsfield have each pleaded guilty to wire fraud and are currently awaiting sentencing. Defendants still facing charges in connection with this investigation include: 47-year-old Boerne resident and Rockin’ J contractor Roy E. Pokrant, Jr.; 47-year-old Boerne resident and Rockin’ J contractor Thomas J. Worsham; and, 48–year-old Rinco employee and HipDingo co-owner Manson Porter of Boerne. Porter is charged by indictment with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of witness tampering. Pokrant and Worsham are each charged with three counts of wire fraud. Jury selection is scheduled for October 27, 2014. Upon conviction, each wire fraud and witness tampering charge call for up to 20 years in federal prison; each forged endorsement charge, up to ten years in federal prison.
The Government is also seeking a monetary judgment in this case in the amount of $1,597,708 representing the amount of proceeds traceable to the above mentioned scheme.
This case was investigated by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William R. Harris is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. Porter, Pokrant and Worsham are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.