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Consumer Confidential: Scammers target a Rolling Stones tribute band, get no satisfaction

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Mick Adams and the Stones, which bills itself as "the world's most authentic" Rolling Stones tribute band, may have sympathy for the devil, but that doesn't mean they appreciate being scammed.

"We escaped this without getting screwed," said Erin O'Brien, the band's manager (and wife of lead singer Adams). "But I'm worried about other people in the business who might fall for something like this."

Which would, of course, leave them shattered.

OK, enough with the Stones references. This is a classic bogus-check racket, with the unusual wrinkle that it's targeting entertainers rather than, say, seniors sitting alone at home.

Tabitha Barrientos, 43, leads an all-female mariachi band in Dallas called Mariachi Rosas Divinas. She told me she too was almost caught up in this scam.

"We're already struggling because of the pandemic," Barrientos said. "If we had fallen for this, it would have been devastating."

 

She said she nearly got duped into sending the scammers $55,000. In the case of Mick Adams and the Stones, whose members are based in Southern California and Arizona, the scam involved a payment of $75,000.

O'Brien, the manager, told me her 19th nervous breakdown (sorry) came the other day when she received what appeared to be a legitimate overture from a nonprofit group in Hong Kong called the Chan Art Foundation.

The organization wanted to know if Mick and the boys would be available to stream a 35-minute set from the United States for an upcoming Hong Kong fundraising event.

It seemed like an attractive gig, O'Brien said, especially now, with live concerts still largely on hold because of the pandemic. Prior to the coronavirus, she said, the band performed about 100 shows a year.

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