Christian Promoter Fraud

Mount Airy (N.C.) police are investigating an area concert promoter accused of skipping out on payments to merchants and bands involved in a Jan. 1 gospel music concert.

Wade Weaver, owner of Heaven Bound Talent Agency in Murphy, N.C., is accused of soliciting thousands of dollars from 17 businesses to stage the “Gospel Extravaganza” featuring The Kingsmen Quartet, The Journeymen, Valor 3 and New Jerusalem at Applewood Music Park in Cana, Va.

The promoter appeared professional to those involved, going so far as ordering radio ads.

However, the concert ended with three of the bands, a video taping company, a radio station, newspaper and two hotels allegedly stiffed by Weaver for services rendered, according to television station WXII Channel 12.

Weaver, reached by phone at a nearby motel, reportedly blamed the money shortage on an assistant named “Taylor,” claiming she took the cash with her when she left to take care of her sick husband, WXII 12 said.

The merchants involved aren’t buying that story, according to the Mount Airy News.

Video Works owner Stephanie Easter, who’s reportedly out about $3,000, told the paper that Weaver was convincing, saying his “Christian” demeanor put most involved at ease.

“The world is bad enough as it is without people using religion to go around and rip people off,” Easter said. “It’s very, very upsetting.”

Mount Airy Police Lt. J.A. Freeman told the News the department is looking into whether criminal charges could be filed.

This isn’t the first time Weaver has been accused of fraud in the name of God, according to various reports.

WXII 12 and the News said that authorities in Kentucky and Missouri want Weaver for allegedly writing bad checks.

In May 2008, the Southern Gospel Reporter said Weaver was under scrutiny regarding a July 4-5 gospel event promoted by Heaven Bound Talent Agency in Gray, Tenn., with a bill that included the late Dottie Rambo, The Imperials, The Bethels, Charles Johnson & The Revivers and others.

That lineup reportedly turned out to be fictitious, with Rambo manager Larry Ferguson informing the Reporter that the singer wasn’t scheduled to perform there.