Lita Ford Scam Thwarted

A scam artist promising big-name talent at bargain-basement prices to clubs since last year is apparently still at it and pretending to represent Lita Ford.

The con was stopped short July 10th thanks to a Texas club owner who followed his instincts when the offer sounded too good to be true.

Bill Winter, co-owner of the 250-capacity Flying Pig Roadhouse in Lake Dallas, said the alleged con artist, using the name Michael Saltzman of United Entertainment, called his club out of the blue June 5th and pitched Ford for an August 3rd show.

"He was very slick, very smooth. He knew the lingo," Winter told Pollstar. "It was hard to get a word in edgewise but he left you just enough room to feel comfortable that he might be a booking agent as opposed to a scam artist.

"I used to broker municipal bonds and worked on Wall Street for a number of years and I know the type. He’d make a heck of a salesman."

Winter didn’t know at the time that Ford left the music business years ago after she married former Nitro lead singer Jim Gillette. The club owner eventually discovered that while researching Ford on the Internet.

Information on Saltzman was just as elusive.

"I couldn’t find anything on the name he’s using. I couldn’t find anything on United Entertainment. When I went to the Web site, it was under construction and I’m sure it will be for a long time," the club owner said, adding that United Entertainment’s New York address isn’t legit either.

Meanwhile, the phony artist rep was e-mailing Winter about show details including coordinating spots with a Clear Channel radio station and went as far as contacting the local rep about setting up a campaign.

Winter said inconsistencies in correspondence with Saltzman, in addition to his own online research, set off red flags despite the negotiations appearing aboveboard, so he didn’t complete the deal.

Copies of the contract and related correspondence obtained by Pollstar show Saltzman’s name, along with the names David Wilson and Jim Lundell, used in a contract dated July 7th booking an August 3rd Ford performance for $2,500.

As previously reported by Pollstar, the buyer is instructed to send payments by certified check to road manager David Wilson at a Chicago address.

The phony artist rep has previously claimed to represent Axl Rose, Alice In Chains, Bret Michaels, David Lee Roth, Great White and Poison.

Winter said he came across those facts online, which prompted him to report Saltzman and the scam to the local F.B.I. office.

"He’s slick. I started getting angry about it and thinking ‘I could have fallen for this had I not done the research.’ I’m certain a number of people would’ve fallen for it, have fallen for it," he said. "He needs to get reamed like he’s reaming everyone else. He needs to be put in jail."