NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville woman will spend nearly six years in federal prison after being accused of bilking investors by claiming that her sports marketing agency represented famous athletes, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ said 41-year-old Katie Lynn Mancuso, who owned Gray Area Marketing in Nashville, was initially charged with bank fraud and wire fraud in September 2021 after receiving $2.8 million from investors by operating a fraudulent scheme.

Starting in 2017, Mancuso solicited funds from investors and falsely represented that her agency had been awarded contracts to perform marketing services for professional athletes, officials reported.

In addition, the DOJ accused Mancuso of the following actions:

  • She not only overstated Gray Area’s assets and receivables, but she also promised to repay investors’ funds within 90 days and with a rate of return usually between 15% and 25%. 
  • She provided investors with fake emails and invoices — including invoices falsely reflecting money owed to Gray Area by vendors such as Nike, Oakley, and Under Armour for services rendered — to make her business appear legitimate.
  • She forged an attorney’s signature on a fraudulent attorney-client representation, as well as forged the signatures of another individual on a purported contract. 

Between June 2017 and February 2021, Mancuso reportedly solicited funds from at least 26 investors, some of whom she repaid using funds from others, but the total loss to investors was more than $1.1 million. 

According to the department, Mancuso used the investment funds to “pay her living expenses and at hotels, bars, and to obtain plastic surgery.”

The DOJ said Mancuso pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2021.

However, she continued to commit fraud and submitted false documents to the court in support of her sentencing request prior to her scheduled sentencing in August 2022, according to officials. As a result, the court revoked Mancuso’s pre-trial release status, remanded her to federal custody, and delayed her sentencing.

Months later, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, U.S. District Judge William L. Campbell Jr. sentenced Mancuso to 70 months in federal prison, officials said. In addition, he ordered her to pay $1,011,241.33 in restitution and spend four years under supervised release following her prison term.

The FBI reportedly investigated this case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn W. Booth.