Music industry promoter sentenced to prison for defrauding new jersey investor in concert promotion scam
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2011
TRENTON, N.J. – A purported music industry promoter was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for defrauding a New Jersey investor of approximately $330,000 by claiming to be promoting a series of Mariah Carey concerts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that never took place, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Antywan Ross, 44, formerly of Atlanta, Ga., and now residing in Berkeley, Calif., previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan, who also imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to the Indictment to which Ross pleaded guilty and statements made in court:
During the summer and fall of 2008, Ross, through his company the RDA Group, claimed to be promoting a series of Mariah Carey concerts which were to take place in Dubai in late 2008. Stating that he needed money to pay startup expenses related to the concerts, Ross solicited a $330,000 investment from a New Jersey-based investor, claiming the investor’s money plus interest would be repaid within 45 days. To make it appear that the investor’s money was secure, Ross employed an escrow agent who would not disburse the investor’s funds until Ross provided proof that at least $1 million in sponsorship funds had been committed to the concerts.
Despite not receiving any sponsorship commitments, Ross caused a number of fraudulent letters to be written, including one purportedly from a law firm, that made it appear that more than $10 million in sponsorship money had been committed.
Ross admitted that after the fraudulent sponsorship letters had been delivered to the escrow agent and the investor, he sent an email to the escrow agent directing her to release the investor’s money. Instead of using that money to pay for purported expenses related to putting on an international concert, Ross used the majority of the $330,000 for his own benefit, including the purchase of an automobile. He also admitted that the Mariah Carey concerts in Dubai never took place and that he never repaid the investor.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Ross to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $325,404 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Jacob Christine, Special Agent in Charge, Newark Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew E. Beck of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Brian Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton