Couple Duped Into Not Actually Booking Tom Petty For Their Wedding Ends Up With Tom Petty Anyway

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]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Meh. Let me know when someone gets Michael Jackson to perform at their wedding.

  2. Coffee says:

    “That’s pretty cool,” said Coffee, not jealous at all that this guy could afford to pay $330,000 to watch Tom Petty in concert. “I’d like to do that someday myself, maybe after I save up for that oil change. I have to admit, though, that I would be pretty pissed if this guy worked for BofA, not Amazon…what kind of bizarro logic is that?”

  3. HogwartsProfessor says:


    I must be in an okay mood today. Normally I would think/post, “Must be nice, rich asshole who can get Tom Petty to play at his stupid wedding, mumble mumble grumble rawr.” Instead I found myself thinking, “Aww, how nice of TP.” Yeah, I know he got paid, but still.

  4. Marlin says:

    .1% first world problem.

    • chiieddy says:

      It may be a first world problem [or somewhere above that] but it is a common wedding scam, just on a bigger scale than usual, so it is appropriate. Of course, if you are on the site of 1st world problems, so why bother complaining?

    • MutantMonkey says:

      I definitely have a hard time feeling bad for people that have this sort of money to throw away. Unfortunately no amount of flaming will make me feel differently about this.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Yeah, it would have been just as well if he had been out the money, because then he wouldn’t have been able to invest it in more capitalism.

      • nicless says:

        Yeah, screw that guy for not getting what he paid for but then getting what he paid for by paying extra! Right up the poopshoot!

      • MutantMonkey says:

        To any potential idiotic posts that take mine to mean that the guy deserved this, that is not at all what I meant and it surely isn’t what I said. I simply said that I have a hard time feeling bad for the person.

  5. AjariBonten says:

    I’m all on board with fighting fraud and other crimes, and all; but am I the only one that has a hard time feeling bad for a guy that can afford to book Tom Petty for his wedding ???????

    Yea, I went there.

    • Eremis77 says:

      Yeah, I’m kinda of the same opinion. I’m glad the wedding went well for him, and the fraudster was caught, but a $300,000 booking on the Consumerist? Not really what I’d consider this site’s purview.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’m just amazed that someone has that kind of money to spend on a wedding. In my world, an extra slab of beef on grocery day is a big deal.

  6. Sad Sam says:

    Hard to feel bad for someone with that kind of money. But I’m a Petty fan too, so glad it all ended up working out.

  7. LionMan says:

    Sadly, this scam is more common than you think, although they usually go after promoters. Typically, the scammer will claim to be friends with the artist and can get a performance without having to pay the booking company. Of course, the scammer normally disappears and the scamee finds out nobody knows about this.

  8. MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

    I’m glad they got him to perform at their wedding. I had heard he slipped on pee-pee at the Mega-lo Mart and was on disability.

  9. Rebecca K-S says:

    My favorite posts on Consumerist are definitely the ones that give readers an opportunity to point out that being rich means you deserve no sympathy for being ripped off. Or, the reader’s digest version – being rich means you deserve to be ripped off.

    • Coffee says:

      I don’t think you can be too critical of the posts in this particular thread, at least thus far. Yeah, there are people who have trouble working up too much sympathy for the guy – myself included – but there hasn’t really been anything in the “It disgusts me that someone can afford to spent this much on frivolity while people starve…oh no…I didn’t get to spend $300k to watch a washed up rocker” vein of post…

    • MutantMonkey says:

      I think it simply comes down to it being harder to sympathize with those that can afford the loss vs. those that cannot deal with it as easily.

      Do you feel worse for the guy that wrecked his $2 million Bugatti or the guy who wrecked the only vehicle the family had?

      • Coffee says:

        Pretty much…even a small loss can create hardship for someone who can’t afford it. There is no hardship here, only disappointment.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          I think both you and MM make a great point about hardship v. disappointment, and I don’t disagree at all. I just think that the comments about how “I find it difficult to feel any sympathy for this rich person” come off as pretty hostile and do encourage a bit of a culture where being able to spend a lot of money on something means it’s open season for screwing you. And I’m not just talking about spending a few hundred grand on a rock star – you get these comments when someone spends $1500 on a MacBook and has trouble with it, when they could’ve just bought a $400 netbook.

          • Coffee says:

            Oh, you’re right there…I’ve had my turn getting annoyed when there’s an article about someone who pays $2,500 for an alienware tower and is now having problems with it. People are so quick to say, “I could have built something better for $800…don’t feel bad…” which contributes nothing to the conversation. I think that there is a big difference, however, between a story like that and something like this.

            Also, just to add to people’s consternation, this guy was actually able to end up getting Tom Petty to play due to his connections and money. Granted, it was a happy ending, but if your run-of-the-mill groom got swindled in the same manner, I doubt he’d have the clout to get Mr. Petty’s surprise performance.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          Disappointed or not, he still got ripped off and that’s not right no matter HOW much money the guy has. I would like to think that if I made a ton of money (lottery, bestseller list, etc.) that there won’t be scammers out to get me, but I know better.

  10. StarKillerX says:

    So why is it that the Consumerist will remove the name of an individual and company that blatantly defrauded someone yet will drag Walmart and Best Buy through the mud for even the most petty complaint?

  11. Press1forDialTone says:

    The uber-rich can get anything to happen in their favor for the right price.
    The title should have been:
    “Member of 1% Once Again Gets What They Want Using Big $$$ – DUH!”

    • AstroPig7 says:

      It could, but then it would have no connection to the actual story. Did you actually read the story, or is this just you being offended because someone has money?

  12. 180CS says:

    For people who dont care because the guy is apparently rich/wonder why it’s okay because of the company he works for, here’s my logic:

    Amazon is a good company, which means that it’s higher ups must, for the most part, also be good people. I think it’s safe to assume he is likely one of the good guys. Amazon actually cares about its workers, pays them well/gives good benefits, and isn’t trying to outsource everything it can.

    Bottom line: you’re always going to have someone making oodles more than you. At least this guy probably earned that right instead of inheriting it from mommy/daddy (he’s certainly not the CEO/an extravagant playboy millionaire/in the news for loosing 6 billion like Chase). And even if he did inherit it, at least he’s not part of a company whose goal is to screw the little guy in order to get fatter paychecks for his pay grade. *cough cough* big oil/ebay/paypal/walmart/bestbuy/BofA/Chase/Visa *cough*

    I feel sorry for the guy because he has probably worked hard for his money, and he almost had a large part of his Wedding & a decent chunk of change ruined because he was too trusting.

    • Overman says:

      “Amazon is a good company, which means that it’s higher ups must, for the most part, also be good people. ”
      Its a “good” company because they fullfil your needs?
      There are lawsuits agsinst Amazon for unsafe work conditions in the warehouses.
      The comapny has OSHA violations for not providing cool down statons for minimum wage employees in 114 degree heat.
      This guy could piss away $300k because Amazon Co. chose not to spend money on its minial workers. I bet the lobby in his office has drink cooler.
      Comapines like New Egg and Monoprice source their products from Involuntary Labor states. You get a deal because the sub contractor uses slaves.
      So is the service timley and product quality “good”? Sure.
      Are you supporting a system that profits off of making a small African child mine the materials, a Indentured Chinese laborer assemble the product, and a Bangladeshi child pick through the toxic remnants?
      Does a “good” company profit off the suffering of others while enabeling its CEOs to spend money on a personal concert.
      I would also hate less if he hired Tom Waits to play at his wedding.
      That would be cool.

    • 180CS says:

      Actually, that’s why I won’t use newegg or monoprice. I only use tiger direct.

      And I’m still not sure how you got Amazon profiting off the backs of African children mining. That’s primarily diamond companies, and some electronics companies that need certain metals for their goods. The solution there is to buy from another manufacturer, not another retailer. Question is, did you?

      Anyway, you should try to read more slowly next time. I already said why I always thought of them as a good company, and it has little to do with them carrying the same thing I could buy anywhere else. If you need additional reasons however, I also think they’re good because of how they treat their subsidiaries like Zappos. They know Zappos has a good thing going, and is one of the top places in the US to work, so they leave them alone.

      Now, I do think that what happened at that warehouse is bad, but that was *one* warehouse, and contrary to what you claimed, there where no OSHA violations, but Amazon still decided to install air conditioners in the end.

      They screwed up once, and they fixed it. Problem?

  13. consumerd says:

    I think it is a kudos for tom petty performing at the wedding. I hope the guy got his money back from the fraudster, and I hope Tom Petty’s lawyers have a field day with them!

  14. PragmaticGuy says:

    Hell, I remember when Jeff Spicoli hired Van Halen to play at his birthday party.

  15. frodolives35 says:

    Sounds like he ran down that dream. lol