Two Defendants Posing as Booking Agents for Famous Entertainers Arrested for Fraudulent Scheme
Allegedly Claimed They Could Book Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars To Perform at a Concert Benefitting the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott with a scheme to defraud concert investors by falsely claiming to act as booking agents for well-known entertainers, including Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. The defendants were arrested yesterday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, and their initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrests.
As alleged in the complaint, in September 2019, Jean and Scott were contacted by an investor who was organizing a concert at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, to benefit the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation. The defendants falsely represented that they could book top-tier musical acts to perform at the concert, and provided the investor with a contract for a total fee of $500,000 that purported to commit Timberlake to perform. One of the investors then wired a $100,000 deposit to the defendants. Subsequently, when Timberlake’s social media account failed to mention or promote the event, the investor requested confirmation that Timberlake was booked. In response, the investor received a telephone call from an unidentified individual who falsely claimed to be Timberlake’s manager. The unidentified individual stated that Timberlake would perform at the concert, but that the fee would have to be raised to between $800,000 and $1 million. In November 2019, the defendants sent the investor an agreement stating that Mars would perform at the concert as an alternative to Timberlake for a fee of $600,000. The investor agreed that Mars could be the headliner, but did not send an additional deposit to the defendants.
Within a month of receiving the original $100,000 deposit, approximately half of the money was used by the defendants for personal expenses or withdrawn as cash.
“As alleged, the defendants viewed a fundraiser for a charity formed to protect children from gun violence as an opportunity to commit fraud and line their own pockets,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse.”
“Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott may have been able to realize a quick profit as a result of their alleged fraudulent booking scheme, but not long after their illegal activity took off, they landed in New York to face federal criminal charges. It’s discouraging to think these defendants were willing to defraud an investor supporting a charity foundation. Fortunately, the FBI doesn’t entertain such activity,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business & Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Howard Elbert is in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant United States Attorney Brian Morris of the Office’s Civil Division is handling matters relating to forfeiture.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-MJ-16