Talk about a heartbreaker: Can you imagine thinking you’ve managed to book your favorite musician to play at your wedding, only to find out you’ve been duped to the tune of $165,000? An Amazon exec was dazzled by the tales of a booking firm that said it could not only get Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to play at his July nuptials, but also boasted a roster of artists such as Run-DMC and Ludacris. Had to be legit, right? Wrong.
According to The Smoking Gun, Brian, a senior vice president at Amazon had the cash to shell out to try for Tom Petty. He had a sentimental reason — he and his wife were engaged at a 2010 Petty concert. Aww! So he did some research and found a booking firm to get him set up with the musician. He ended up paying the booking company owner a 50% deposit of $165,000 to lock Petty in for their wedding.
Then there came a set of dead ends — Brian couldn’t get in touch with various contacts purportedly connected to Petty that had been provided by the booking firm, and he began to get that icky feeling.
When he managed to contact Petty’s actual management company in April to talk about what would happen at the wedding, he got quite the shock — Petty’s people had no idea what was going on, had never heard of the booking firm and definitely didn’t know anything about the couple’s wedding. Ruh roh.
His manager wrote to Brian in an email:
“We have never heard of [booking firm owner] or his agency. We are not aware of any deal for Tom Petty to play Seattle in July and I have never signed a contract for any such.” He added, “It looks like you have been defrauded.”
Brian had received a contract that was supposed to have been signed by Petty’s manager before he’d paid the deposit, so with that $165,000 staring him in the face, he went to the FBI to report the fraud.
The booking firm’s owner was arrested last week on felony fraud charges — and here comes the happy ending! Brian remained unflagging in his quest for the band, and after talking to actual people involved with the musician to get a booking, Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers did end up playing the Seattle wedding reception.
Hey, if anyone else out there has mistakenly thought they’d booked Tom Petty for their wedding and ended up jamming out to “Free Fallin’ ” in the end, feel free to share.
*Thanks for the tip, Rowell!
FBI: Amazon Exec Was Fleeced In Tom Petty Scam [The Smoking Gun]