LA Lawmakers Launch Campaign Against Talent Scout Scams
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The city of Los Angeles has joined forces with advocates to warn aspiring entertainers about talent agents and managers who demand advance fees.
It's a new effort to enforce the Talent Scam Prevention Act.
"I have been approached by random people before, once at a mall, and it just seemed fishy," said singer Andrea Hall. Her mother brought her and her sister from Scottsdale, Ariz., for auditions.
"It's really tragic what they do these professional people who prey on these families and what they say," said Paula Dorn, co-founder of bizparentz.org. "The predators, they absolutely know what they're doing. They're skilled at it, and have got it down to a science."
Advocates like Dorn are working with L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer to refocus on the Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2010.
"Under the law, agents and managers are forbidden to charge any up-front fee. You can't charge an up-front management fee," Feuer said.
Feuer says he wants to educate would-be entertainers to not fall victim to scam artists.
One such con artist is allegedly Debra Aurora Baum, who Feuer's office claims signed a 19-year-old singer to a $10,000 monthly management contract after soliciting her at a hair salon.
Baum is due in court next month. If convicted, she faces up to two years in jail, $20,000 in fines and restitution to her alleged victims.
"Anybody who aspires to get into the entertainment industry should know that you can't be charged for an audition," Feuer said.
He encourages entertainers to not be afraid to ask for the license of a talent agent and to read contracts very carefully.
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