Settling Up At Gunpoint

Six people are facing charges of extortion and kidnapping after holding two promoters hostage following a failed Memorial Day concert.

Promoters Michael Murphy and Amir Saleem were allegedly held at gunpoint for hours in a Vineland, N.J., storefront June 4 and forced to come up with $165,000, police said.

Natubhai Patel, his son Anil Patel and niece Trupti Cortes invested in the Memorial Day weekend rap concert in Miami promoted by Murphy, Saleem and a Florida-based partner, authorities told the Daily Journal.

When the show failed to turn a profit, the Patels and Cortes, along with several other “enforcers,” allegedly confronted the promoters during a meeting at the storefront and demanded their money back.

Vineland police detective Thomas Ulrich told the Journal that when Murphy and Saleem entered the storefront, guns were drawn and the men’s lives were threatened.

They were then ordered to call relatives to have money wired to them, taken to an ATM to withdraw money and forced to sign a promissory note that turned over interest in their company, Dreammakers Events, to the Florida business partner, Ulrich said.

The six arrested also face charges of robbery, criminal coercion and weapons offenses. They are being held in the Cumberland County Jail on $200,000 bail each, the paper reported.

“It’s a very weird case,” Ulrich said. “It took a couple months to sort out.”

The FBI and U.S. Marshalls Service are also assisting with the case, which is ongoing, he told the Journal.