Fans and artists hit by concert scams
By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – Music superstars rarely make it
to Hardeeville, S.C.
So last month, local music fan Richard Martinez gladly
forked over $100 at the door for a concert by reggaeton star
Daddy Yankee, a leading light in the Latin music subgenre.
But after a three-hour wait, Daddy Yankee was nowhere in
sight. Martinez and other witnesses say a woman selling tickets
then got into what she claimed was the rapper’s limousine and
screeched out of the parking lot with the money.
When the hundreds of fans in attendance caught on to the
scam, all hell broke loose. “They were about to burn the club
down. They started throwing bricks, glass, everything at the
club,” Martinez says.
That melee followed one of the latest alleged scams
reported to law enforcement by management for Daddy Yankee, who
is not currently on tour. Bergen County, N.J.-based prosecutor
John Molinelli has issued an arrest warrant for a suspect —
believed to be in the Dominican Republic — who received a wire
transfer of $100,000 to produce Daddy Yankee for a recent
concert in New Jersey.
“They’re definitely allegations against the same person,”
Molinelli says, referring to a possible connection among
incidents in South Carolina, New Jersey and three other
A statement on Daddy Yankee’s Web site provides an e-mail
address for fans to report suspected fraud. “Every day there
are new scams,” Yankee publicist Mayna Nevarez says. In
October, says Nevarez, investors for a Daddy Yankee date in New
York were ripped off for $75,000; more recently, a San Antonio
investor called before sending money to Daddy Yankee management
for a non-existent concert.
Unlike in Latin pop and regional Mexican, which have longer
touring histories and more established relationships between
venues, management and promoters looking to make money on
reggaeton concerts often literally don’t know who they’re
dealing with, Nevarez and others say.
In the South Carolina case, the club owner and the
president of the local Spanish-language radio station say they
were shown a performance contract that turned out to be fake.
“They really did a number on us,” says Esperanza Ebersole of
Radio Sol, which ran promos for the Daddy Yankee show in
exchange for a promised cut of ticket sales. “And we got
Veteran promoter Henry Cardenas says inexperienced people
looking to cash in on the Yankee juggernaut are easy victims.
“We work with a lot of managers and agencies. Before we get
into one of these deals, we do our homework,” says Cardenas,
who is handling the Yankee tour starting next March.
The difference between a legitimate booking and a fake one
can be a bit slippery. Javier Perez, who manages up-and-coming
reggaeton act Alexis & Fido, says promoters often jump the gun
and advertise a show lineup before all the deals have closed.
“It happens all the time. You’ll see 10 artists being
announced, and three show up,” Perez says. He recalls a
promoter trying to lure him into booking Alexis & Fido on the
promise of a bigger act’s participation — even when the
supposed headliner was not scheduled to perform.
For now there are no plans to assuage disgruntled Daddy
Yankee fans with a South Carolina concert. “I know it’s not his
fault, but it would be nice,” Ebersole says. “Not for free,
(but) maybe half price.”