A former business manager and accountant for R&B singers Ne-Yo and Brian McKnight has been sentenced to serve more than seven years behind bars for defrauding the stars and stealing millions from their bank accounts.
Kevin R. Foster, right, was convicted on 16 criminal counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and tax evasion in Ohio last year.
The New Jersey native is charged with convincing Ne-Yo to invest $2 million in a new sports drink company called OXYwater without revealing that he was the CEO and CFO of the company.
Foster also withdrew another $1.5 million from Ne-Yo’s bank account without the musician’s knowledge to fund his lifestyle. And he opened up a line of credit in Ne-Yo’s name for $1.4 million by forging his signature.
On Friday, Foster, 43, was ordered to serve 89 months in prison and pay over $7.9 million in restitution to his victims.
Ne-Yo met Foster in 2005 and the two developed a close friendship while Foster worked for a consulting and accounting firm where Foster managed Ne-Yo’s business affairs.
When Foster left the firm to open his own accounting and consulting company, Ne-Yo went with him.
Ne-Yo eventually placed his complete trust in Foster to handle his finances and business affairs, including paying his bills and filing his tax returns.
In addition, Foster was accused of earning singer Brian McKnight’s trust and withdrawing money from his bank account without permission.
Foster reportedly used the funds to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, including hiring a personal driver, buying designer suits and jewelry, as well as purchasing season tickets to his favorite New York sports teams, and tickets to the Super Bowl.
Ne-Yo filed a civil suit against Foster in 2014, accusing him of withdrawing $4.5 million from his bank account without authorization between 2011 and 2013. He only discovered he had lost millions when he hired an outside accounting firm to oversee his finances after Citibank officials claimed he had failed to make payments on a loan the singer insisted he never signed off on.
Ne-Yo also sued Citibank, accusing the financial institution of allowing a bank employee to approve a loan for Foster without the singer’s signature.
Ne-Yo said the bank manager was a close friend of Foster’s, alleging the two men vacationed together and even stayed in the same hotel room.
But Citibank responded that Ne-Yo deposited the $1.4 million loan into his bank accounts and then withdrew $25,000 at a time, and also transferred large amounts to his other accounts.
Ne-Yo’s case was dismissed by a judge in 2016, due to a lack of supporting evidence.
In 2011, Foster sued 2 Atlanta bloggers for posting a letter from an ex-girlfriend who accused Foster of texting her nude photos to his friends. The lawsuit was thrown out of court for lack of jurisdiction.
Photos by Jeff Vespa/WireImage, Denise Truscello/Getty Images