An Amazon executive fell prey to a fraudlent music booking scam that cost him $165,000 when he tried to hire his favorite musician, Tom Petty, to play his wedding, GeekWire reports.
A criminal complaint was filed against the fraudlent agent on July 25 in U.S. District Court in Seattle. A number of allegations against a purported music booking agent based out of Las Vegas outline the how the scheme was presented to the Amazon exec.
The victim, referred to as "B.V." in the criminal complaint and identified as Brian Valentine by The Smoking Gun website, thought he was going to surprise his new wife with a performance by booking Petty, but after a few exchanges with the agent -- and wiring a $165,000 deposit to him -- Valentine contacted the FBI in May and told them he thought he was a victim of fraud.
The victim said the "agent" provided a contract that was signed by him and purportedly also Petty's manager. After receiving the signed contract confirming the date, Valentine wired the deposit.
While Valentine had wired the money for Petty's performance in October 2011, by April 2012, after attempts to reach Petty's production manager, he finally contacted Petty's management company.
Court documents state that Petty's manager responded to Valentine, "We have never heard of Chris ... or his agency. We are not aware of any deal for Tom Petty to play Seattle in July and I have never signed a contract for any such event. It looks like you have been defrauded."
Valentine then hired a private investigator in Las Vegas to track down the agent. On April 17, Valentine received an email from the agent claiming that the agency was closed, Petty was not interested in performing at Valentine's wedding and that the agency wanted to wire Valentine's deposit back to him.
The problem was that the agent didn't have all the funds at hand to refund Valentine, court documents said.
On May 2, Valentine received an email from the private investigator that the agent had vacated his home.
The Smoking Gun reported that Valentine, who was undeterred in getting Petty to perform at his wedding reception, did finally manage to book Petty -- through legitimate channels -- to perform on his special day.
GeekWire contacted Valentine for a comment, but he did not seem to want the situation made public.
No charges have been filed against the fraudlent booking agent and court documents do not state that he has been located.