May 19, 2010
ORGANIZER OF TEXAS MUSIC FESTIVAL INDICTED
(HOUSTON) – James Watson Jr. has been indicted on charges of bank fraud and credit card fraud, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The indictment was returned today by a federal grand jury in Houston.
Watson, 54, who is currently incarcerated in a federal prison in California for a similar scam involving the Sacramento Jazz Festival, was charged in a two-count indictment with bank fraud and credit card fraud arising from a scheme related to the 2008 Texas Music Festival.
The Texas Music Festival was scheduled to take place at Eleanor Tinsley Pavilion in Houston from Aug. 30, 2008, to Sept. 1, 2008. The indictment alleges Watson was the principal organizer of the Festival and that he recruited individuals to invest more than $2 million and promised them a return of their principal plus a profit. In connection with the scheme, Watson used investors to engage in a $400,000 check kite at Bank of America, fraudulently and without authorization using the credit card number of one investor to make a charge on the card in exchange for another investor who believed the card was Watson’s, giving him cash.
The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million. The maximum penalty for credit card fraud is 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Belinda Beek is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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