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'I'll be back': Breakfast Bitch owner surrenders to prison; gives 12News exclusive interview

Tracii Hutsona spent her last day of freedom at her popular restaurant on Phoenix's Roosevelt Row. She's been sentenced to prison for wire fraud.

PHOENIX — People are laughing. A DJ is playing loud music. And diners are sipping on mimosas. The Sunday brunch crowd at the popular Roosevelt Row eatery likely had no idea that the restaurant's owner would be heading to prison in a matter of hours.

But that's where Tracii Hutsona started her last day of freedom - for now - her restaurant, Breakfast Bitch, located on the corner of Third and Roosevelt streets in downtown Phoenix.

She surrendered to custody to start serving her prison sentence on Monday, March 20, after taking a plea deal last year in a federal fraud case.

"Mixed emotions, as you might imagine," Hutsona told 12News in an interview Sunday morning when asked how she was feeling. "Tough to leave, obviously my family and my staff and Breakfast Bitch. I feel a lot of remorse. And it's really hit me that, you know, your past never really leaves you."

Last month, Hutsona was sentenced to more than four years in prison after taking a plea deal for wire fraud, admitting in federal court that she stole money from actress Joumana Kidd, NBA star Jason Kidd’s ex-wife.

Court records show Hutsona was working as an assistant for Joumana Kidd between 2015 and 2019 when she stole more than a million dollars from Kidd’s accounts to fund her own luxurious lifestyle.

Hutsona opened the restaurants in Phoenix and San Diego after she stopped working for Kidd.

For more than two years, in the wake of her February 2021 arrest, she declined media interviews as the case played out in court. But on Sunday, less than 24 hours before she was scheduled to turn herself in, she sat down with 12News to share her side of what happened.

"The person that has been depicted and the person that maybe I was at one time is definitely not who I am today," she shared. "But at the same time, I feel like I'm ready to go and get this started and get through it and kind of make the most of the situation, if possible."

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed Monday morning that Hutsona surrendered to custody and was taken to FCI Phoenix, a federal prison in the northwest Valley. She was also ordered to pay restitution to Joumana Kidd.

"I can’t go backwards," she said. "I can’t take it back. And all I can do is deal with it head-on. And, you know, I did apologize. And I am remorseful."

This isn’t the first time Hutsona’s been in hot water. In 2008, records show she was sentenced to six years in prison in a different federal fraud scheme.

"You come out and feel like you’re ready to go and it’s never going to happen again and you would never put yourself in that position, or the ones that love you. And it’s not as easy as you think it is."

In the latest case, the U.S. Attorney’s office called Hutsona a "serial con artist" and Joumanna Kidd’s attorney said the whole ordeal was painful to his client.

"It took a huge toll financially, emotionally and every way really," said Steve Madison, one of Kidd's attorneys.  

In the end, the judge served up a 51-month prison sentence for Hutsona, more than what prosecutors asked for.

"I’m not a con artist," Hutsona asserted in her interview with 12News. "I never targeted anyone. Things aren’t always the way they look. Or they come out sensationalized."

When the 12News I-Team pointed out that it was confirmed in court that money was taken and there was a victim in this case who felt trust was broken, Hutsona stood by her statement.

"I will stand by saying I did not target anyone," she said. "I’m hesitant to get into all the details. I don’t want to risk anything else by coming from a different place other than remorse."

Hutsona spent Sunday morning at her restaurant, taking in the scene before her life would change the next day.

"There’s a lot of things that I’m not proud of obviously in my life - but this I'm proud of," she said referring to her restaurant.

The restaurant first opened in Phoenix in 2020 at Portland and Third streets. The restaurant moved to the bigger spot on Roosevelt Row late last year. Hutsona claimed she used her own funds to start the restaurants with her husband. Kidd's team disputed that and claimed stolen funds were used to get the business off the ground.

Hutsona expects operations to keep running while she’s in custody with her husband, family, and staff all stepping up to the plate until she gets out.

"I’ll be back, bitches," she said with a smile. "Hopefully stronger than ever."

Prior to her sentencing, her husband, other family members, and several of her staffers wrote to the judge to ask for leniency. She said she was moved by their support.

"That kind of kept me going, because I was like, 'Oh, I'm not really a piece of crap,'" she said. "If I saw what you saw, I would say lock her up and throw away the key. You know, I didn't like the person that I was hearing all of this media about. To know that my supporters saw me for who I feel like I am made a huge difference."

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