Owner Of Purported Sports Marketing Agency Facing Federal Charges In Ponzi Scheme

NASHVILLE –Katie Lynn Mancuso, 40, of Nashville, was charged today with bank fraud and wire fraud, resulting from a fraudulent scheme in which she received more than $2.8 million from investors, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

According to the charging document, Mancuso owned and operated Gray Area Marketing in Nashville, which was purportedly a sports marketing agency representing various famous athletes.  As part of the fraudulent scheme and beginning in June 2017, Mancuso solicited funds from investors and falsely represented that Gray Area had been awarded contracts to perform marketing services for professional athletes.  Mancuso overstated Gray Area’s assets and receivables and promised to repay investor’s funds within 90 days and with a rate of return usually between 15%-25%.  Mancuso also provided investors with fake invoices that falsely reflected money owed to Gray Area by vendors such as Nike, Oakley, and Under Armour for services rendered.

During the course of the scheme, Mancuso generated fraudulent invoices and emails to make her business appear legitimate.  She also forged the signature of an attorney on a fraudulent attorney-client representation and forged the signatures of another individual on a purported contract.

Between June 2017 and February 2021, Mancuso solicited funds from at least 26 investors and received more than $2.8 million.  Although she repaid some investors, using funds from others, the total loss to investors was more than $1.1 million.  Mancuso used the investment funds to pay her living expenses and at hotels, bars, and to obtain plastic surgery.

If convicted, Mancuso faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud.

This case was investigated by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn W. Booth is prosecuting the case. 

The charges are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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