Jennifer Aniston named as victim of salon fraud

Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:43pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The owner of a Beverly Hills beauty salon was arrested on Wednesday on charges of stealing credit card information from Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway and Liv Tyler and running up tens of thousands of fraudulent payments on their accounts.

According to court documents in the case, a witness claimed that Cher, Melanie Griffith and former "Felicity" television star Scott Speedman were also victims of the fraud.

The owner of Chez Gabriela Studio is accused of swindling $214,000 from Tyler alone in a five-month period last year, according to a court affidavit.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said salon owner Maria Gabriella Perez, 51, is accused of making at least $280,000 of fraudulent charges in a one-year period.

Perez is alleged to have used credit card information provided by celebrities and other clients for legitimate services, and later entered the details manually to run up unauthorized charges.

Aniston, Hathaway, Cher, Tyler, Griffith and Speedman were named in the court papers as among those who saw unauthorized charges on their credit cards.

Representatives for Cher, however, told celebrity website that the singer and actress was not a victim and did not know why she had been named in the court papers.

Perez is charged with two counts of fraud and faces a maximum 25 years in prison if convicted. She was arrested without incident at her Beverly Hills salon and was due to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)