Promoter Charged With Fraud, ID Theft
A concert promoter with ties to West Hollywood, Calif., and Las Vegas was arrested in Texas by FBI special agents April 29 on federal wire fraud and identity theft charges alleging he defrauded investors in concerts and other events.
– Gabe Reed
The case against Gabriel Reed, who did business as Gabe Reed Productions, was filed in U.S District Court in Los Angeles April 19 and unsealed at his first court appearance May 3.
Reed acted as a promoter and organizer of hard rock events including “Titans of Rock” as well as WWE wrestling for more than eight years, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges Reed solicited investors in concerts by dropping names and boasting of relationships with famous artists, showing off tour swag and in some cases fabricating financial records related to concerts.
Reed is accused of falsely telling investors that name artists had agreed to perform at events and funds would be used to provide “up-front financing” of them. But in many cases, the artists had not agreed to appear and, rather than spending the money on events, Reed is accused of spending the investor funds on personal expenses.
One Los Angeles investor agreed in 2015 to put $100,000 into a “Titans of Rock” tour Reed was pitching, only to find that many of the promised artists had not agreed to participate.
“An FBI review of bank records showed the victim’s money was used to pay for Reed’s personal expenses, including child support, costs related to a birthday, and meals at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills,” according to the affidavit.
The $100,000 “was depleted” over several months, partially via ATM withdrawals, according to the FBI, which was “unable to identify the payment of any expenses related to a concert or tour,” the affidavit states. The FBI continues to investigate the case.
Reed is alleged to have solicited money from at least 15 victims who suffered losses of at least $1.4 million.
He’s also charged with aggravated identity theft in relation to another, unidentified, promoter whose name Reed allegedly used in connection with the wire fraud.
If convicted, Reed faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud count and a mandatory, consecutive two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft charge, according to the DOJ.
Investors who provided money to Reed and believe they were defrauded should contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.