A concert promoter who operated in West Hollywood pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge for conning investors with false claims that well-known musical acts had agreed to participate in his events.
Charged With Wire Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft
Gabriel “Gabe” Reed, a 46-year-old former Malibu resident, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, who scheduled a March 19 sentencing hearing. As a result of his plea to one count of wire fraud, Reed faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Reed, who does business under the name Gabe Reed Productions, was charged in May with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft stemming from what prosecutors described as an eight-year scheme in which he represented himself as a promoter and organizer of hard rock music events, as well as wrestling matches for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Lied About Relationships With Major Artists
Reed solicited investors by touting longstanding relationships with well- known musicians, showing props from alleged previous tours, and, in some instances, creating fabricated financial records, according to his plea agreement.
In the document, Reed admits telling investors that musical artists had agreed to participate in his events and that their funds would be used to provide up-front financing for the performances. However, in many instances, the artists had not agreed to participate and, rather than using the funds for the events, Reed used the investors’ funds for personal expenses.
At Least 15 Victims Lost At Least $1.4 Million
Reed solicited money from at least 15 victims who suffered losses of at least $1.4 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As part of his plea agreement, Reed agreed to pay full restitution to the victims, whose names were withheld.
In one instance, a Los Angeles investor agreed to put $100,000 into a concert tour Reed was calling “Titans of Rock” — but many of the promised artists had not agreed to participate.
An FBI review of bank records showed that 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 Steak House and Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills, according to court documents.
Over the course of several months in 2015, the $100,000 “had been depleted,” due in part to ATM withdrawals, and the FBI was “unable to identify the payment of any expenses related to a concert or tour,” according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles federal court.