Concert Promoter Who Raised Money for Events that Would Never Take Place Pleads Guilty to Bilking Investors
LOS ANGELES – A concert promoter who operated in Dallas, Texas and West Hollywood pleaded guilty this morning to a federal fraud charge for defrauding investors, promoters and performers who invested in concerts and World Wrestling Entertainment events.
Gabriel Martin Reed, 46, a former Malibu resident who currently lives in McKinney, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning to one count of wire fraud.
Reed, who conducted business under the name Gabe Reed Productions, admitted in court today that he received money from victims after falsely telling them that events would take place, certain performers had agreed to participate in those events, and their money would be used to organize and promote the events. Instead of using the money for concerts and other events as promised, Reed used investor funds to pay his personal expenses, including rent, utility bills and travel expenses.
According to court documents, over an 8½-year period, Reed represented himself as a promoter and organizer of hard rock and wrestling events. Reed solicited investors by touting what he claimed were longstanding relationships with well-known musicians, showing props from alleged previous tours, and fabricating records related to music events.
“To execute his scheme to defraud, [Reed] used sophisticated means, including, but not limited to, creating email addresses in the names of other individuals and entities to convince his victims that their funds were legitimately invested,” according to a plea agreement filed in federal court. “In addition, [Reed] produced and distributed to victims fraudulent and fabricated artist contracts, bank statements, and correspondence.”
One Los Angeles investor agreed to put $100,000 into a 2016 concert tour Reed was calling “Titans of Rock.” However, many of the promised artists had not agreed to participate in the tour, according to the plea agreement. The FBI reviewed bank records that showed the victim’s money was used to pay for Reed’s personal expenses, including child support, costs related to a birthday party, and meals at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills, according to an affidavit previously filed in this case.
Documents previously filed in this case state that victims suffered losses of at least $1.4 million.
Reed pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, who scheduled a sentencing hearing on March 19, 2018. As a result of today’s guilty plea, Reed faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The case against Reed is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Poonam G. Kumar of the Major Frauds Section.