published Monday, June 6th, 2011

Woman sentenced on fraud, evasion charges

A Kingston woman was sentenced Friday to 27 months in prison on fraud and evasion charges in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, authorities said.

Jessica Potter Stafford, 34, of Kingston, Tenn., was convicted on 10 counts of wire fraud and three counts of income tax evasion, according to a release from U.S. Attorney William C. Killian.

Her prison sentence will be followed by three years supervised release.

Stafford entered a guilty plea to the charges on Feb. 3. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Phillips handed down the sentence.

Officials said Stafford was employed as director of administration for several businesses owned by Robert McManus, including Labo Management and Diverse Concepts in Knoxville. While working for the company, Stafford was issued American Express credit cards to be used for paying expenses relating to her employment duties, but she admitted that from Jan. 1, 2005 through Aug. 31, 2008, she devised a scheme in which she used the company American Express credit cards to charge more than $200,000 in personal charges at stores such as Kohl’s, Markham Diamond and Lumber Liquidators, the release states.

Stafford then paid for the unauthorized charges with McManus’ money, the release said.

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