CORONA, CA — A Corona woman who recently completed a 79-month federal prison sentence stemming from a $15 million bank fraud scheme was ordered back to prison Monday for executing a similar scam in which she lied to a victim about celebrities such as LeBron James supporting her supposed venture, the Department of Justice announced.
Carolyn Marie Jones, 57, was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald after she admitted violating the terms of her supervised release. While still in custody and then immediately after being placed on supervised release, she fraudulently obtained a $13,000 investment “through a myriad of lies, false pretenses, and material omissions,” court documents state.
According to documents filed by prosecutors, Jones purported to be a successful and well-connected denim jeans entrepreneur, claiming that numerous celebrities supported her fashion brand, including the Kardashian and Jenner families, Taylor Swift, Floyd Mayweather, Chrissy Teigen, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. She also falsely claimed that LeBron James had offered her $500,000 for equity in her company, according to the DOJ.
She even used Kobe Bryant's name after his death, according to the government agency.
“In the wake of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and one of his daughters, [Jones] used their deaths as a way to prop up her company and bolster her carefully-crafted image of being a well-connected entrepreneur,” the government’s sentencing memorandum states. Text messages show that Jones falsely told the victim that she was in contact with the Bryant family after the crash, consoling them, and that prior to his death, Bryant had wanted his daughters to be the “face” of her denim brand, the DOJ said.
Jones admitted on Monday that she violated other terms of her release by failing to disclose an open line of credit, failing to disclose an open bank account, and engaging in a business involving the solicitation of funds without the express prior approval of her probation officer, according to the DOJ.
As he ordered her back to federal prison, Judge Fitzgerald told Jones, “This is the final chance.” If she violates any term of her supervised release again, the judge said that he would give her the “harshest sentence” permitted by law.
Once she completes her current prison stint, Jones will be on supervised release for 40 months.
The prison sentence that Jones completed earlier this year was the result of two cases against her — one involving bank loans and bankruptcy fraud, and another involving a wire fraud scheme she perpetrated while free on bond in the first case, according to the DOJ.
Both indictments stemmed from Jones’s false portrayal of herself as a successful and well-connected denim jeans entrepreneur. Jones’ fraud schemes were related to her company, DDI, sometimes known as Diamond Decisions, Inc., which sold high-end jeans under the labels Privacywear and PRVCY Premium.
She pleaded guilty in February 2015 to one count of bank fraud and one count of concealing assets in bankruptcy. Jones “executed not one, but two, fraud schemes of epic proportions resulting in a loss to Union Bank and numerous investors of $15,124,100,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
When she received the 79-month sentence in December 2015, Judge Fitzgerald characterized Jones as “truly a greedy, awful person.”