Salon to Stars Owner Busted in Credit Card Scam - NBC4 Washington

Salon to Stars Owner Busted in Credit Card Scam

Clients included Aniston, Berry, Liv Tyler, Cher, Hathaway



    Salon to Stars Owner Busted in Credit Card Scam
    After her split from Brad Pitt in 2005, Jennifer Aniston still has the bad rap five years later as a lonely divorcee who can't find love. But don't count her out yet! The blogosphere is in a spin over speculation that Aniston may have a new beau.

    A Beverly Hills beauty salon owner who helped keep stars like Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler and Anne Hathaway looking good skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars from her clients' credit cards, authorities said.

    Maria Gabriella Perez was arrested Wednesday by Secret Service agents at her business, Chez Gabriela Studio. The 51-year-old was charged with two counts of fraud that carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

    Prosecutors charge that more than $214,000 in fraudulent charges were made from Perez's business to two credit cards belonging to Tyler last year.

    Aniston told ABC's "Good Morning America" she quit going to the salon five years ago after a suspicious incident she declined to describe in detail.

    "We had a situation that was not cool, so I sort of just stopped going to her," Aniston said. "I knew that something like this would eventually happen because you can't get away with that."

    Prosecutors say Perez ran up $68,000 in unauthorized charges on a card belonging to high-end jewelry designer Loree Rodkin. Most of the charges were made from Chez Gabriela Studio with the numbers from the credit cards entered manually, prosecutors said.

    Rodkin told investigators "she had spoken with several other high-profile victims who stated that, after legitimately paying for services at the studio, charges from the studio would appear on their credit cards without authorization,'' according to radaronline.

    Other A-list victims included Melanie Griffith and Cher, according to prosecutors. Griffith is willing to testify if necessary, according to an affidavit.

    Perez's website, meanwhile, is filled with purported testimonials from the actresses listed as her victims.

    Perez "is the Michelangelo of skin care," raves Cher. "Thank you for always being so good to me," Aniston wrote on an autographed picture. 

    Miami Police Department

    "Thank you for the magic that's made my skin so flawless," Berry wrote on an autographed picture on Perez's website.

    Selected Reading: The Associated Press, The New York Daily News, Radaronline.