Two women have been arrested in New York over the alleged attempt to fraudulently book Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars at a concert that would have raised funds for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation.
According to a court filing by an FBI investigator, Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott claimed to be from an Atlanta-based music and promotions company called Canvas Media Group.
The pair took an advanced payment of $100,000 (£77,000/€90,000) from the organisers of the concert under the pretence of booking the performers for the benefit gig, which was due to kick of last month at the 64,000-seat Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The filing claims that the defendants partly spent the deposit and later told the organisers that Timberlake had decided that he needed to be paid $275,000 of his $500,000 fee to publicly announce the show.
However, allegedly neither Jean nor Scott had any contact with the artists or their representatives. The defendants then arranged for a man who claimed to be Timberlake’s manager to contact the organiser and allay any fears about the booking.
The fake manager then told organisers that his fee had gone up to $800,000, before switching gears and saying Mars could play for $600,000 if the show could pay a $300,000 deposit payment up front.
Scott also reportedly claimed she could book other top-tier artists for the concert, which was set up by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Other artists reportedly included Drake, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran.
“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,” comments Richard Donoghue, United States attorney for the eastern district of New York. “Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse.”
According to the New York Post, Jean and Scott have been banned from working as agents or promoters while awaiting trial.