San Antonio-Area Businesswoman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Orchestrating Estimated $1.4 Million Fraud Scheme
This afternoon, San Antonio businesswoman Lea Ann Blystone was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for orchestrating an estimated $1.4 million wire fraud scheme announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs.
In addition to the prison term, Senior United States District Judge David Ezra ordered that Blystone pay a monetary judgment in the amount of $1,402,935.45 which represents the amount of proceeds traceable to the above mentioned scheme. Judge Ezra also ordered that Blystone be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing her prison term. Judge Ezra remanded Blystone into federal custody following today’s sentencing.
Blystone, age 48, is the owner and managing partner of HipDingo stores in Boerne and Fredericksburg, and formerly in San Antonio; and, the former marketing director for a land development company, Rinco of Texas, Inc. (Rinco), and its Rockin J Ranch (Rockin J) development.
On September 9, 2014, the Boerne, TX, resident 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 was responsible for coordinating the staffing and payments to vendors for promotional booths or display space at shows, malls, sporting, and other events. In defrauding the victims, Blystone caused them to pay several cohorts for purportedly working at the displays, when in fact they performed no such work. According to courtroom testimony, they shared these payments with Blystone. In some instances, Rinco and Rockin J paid for services when Blystone had provided no promotional work on their behalf. In others, Blystone caused Rinco and Rockin J to pay monies she used to pay persons working at her Hip Dingo stores, work wholly unrelated to promotions for the victims.
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.