Two women were arrested for allegedly creating a scam concert that would benefit the Sandy Hook Promise charity for shooting victims and defrauded investors.
Nancy Jean, 51, of Riverdale, Georgia and Carissa Scott, 41, of Fayette, Mississippi were arrested on Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York reported. According to the report, the women scheduled a concert in December 2019 that would take place in San Antonio, Texas and feature popstar Justin Timberlake. The show was supposed to benefit the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit that works to protect children from gun violence after a gunman opened fire on children in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
An investor contacted the pair, who were posing as booking agents for the concert, and entered into a contract fee of $500,000 in order to secure Timberlake’s performance. The investors wired a $100,000 deposit to the defendants, but when investors didn’t see Timberlake post about the concert on social media, they asked for confirmation that Timberlake was booked. Scott told the investor that Timberlake was reluctant to post about the concert until he received the full $250,000 deposit.
The complaint said that someone posing as Timberlake’s manager reached out to the investor and reportedly said that Timberlake would perform but only if the fee was increased to between $800,000 and $1 million. Then, Jean and Scott told the investor in November that Bruno Mars would perform at the concert instead of Timberlake for $600,000. The investor reportedly agreed that Mars could headline, but didn’t send any more funds.
Timberlake’s manager told prosecutors that he never heard of the concert and the star never signed up to perform for the event. Mars’ manager issued a similar response, with both managers noting that they had never spoken to Jean or Scott.
After receiving the $100,000 deposit, Jean and Scott used around $50,000 for personal expenses or withdrew cash, federal officials said. Then, they spent around $4,000 to lease a Mercedes, withdrew more than $8,700 in cash, and spend over $1,000 at a Saks Fifth Avenue store.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement, noting that “simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse.”
Both women were caught when they tried to pull a similar scam on an FBI agent posing as a Brooklyn-based financer, court papers show. Jean and Scott were charged with wire fraud and released on $75,000 bond. While they await trial, both have been prohibited to work as booking agents or promoters.