Amazon exec swindled in Tom Petty performance scam
When Amazon Sr. VP Brian Valentine was planning his wedding earlier this year, he wanted Tom Petty to play. But a criminal complaint says the guy who promised to book the classic rocker swindled Valentine out of $165,000 instead.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle has filed a criminal complaint against Chad Christopher Lund, a Las Vegas man who used “false and fraudulent pretenses” to present himself as a booking agent, according to court documents obtained by the Smoking Gun.
The complaint says Lund created a business and website that made it seem he could secure top tier artists such as Petty.
According to the court documents, Valentine found Lund online and contacted him via email. Lund told Valentine he had a relationship with Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s management team, and that he would “negotiate for a price for the band’s performance.”
The complaint says Lund subsequently reported he’d talked the price down to a “mere $330,000 for the band to perform at Valentine’s wedding,” and provided a proposed contract purportedly signed by Petty’s manager, Tony Dimitriades, to Valentine.
Valentine wired 50 percent of the booking fee to Lund, who then provided him with an email address for Tom Petty’s production manager, Chris Adamson, to “work out the logistical details” of the performance.
But after failing to get a response, Valentine contacted Petty’s management team, who informed him they “have never heard of Chris Lund or his agency.”
The complaint alleges Lund forged Dimitriades’ signature.
Valentine ultimately hired a private investigator and tracked Lund down. He didn’t admit to the scam, but promised to ultimately pay back the money. Lund told Valentine, a former top executive at Microsoft, it would take time and asked if he could make payments. Instead, Lund fled Las Vegas and was reportedly arrested in Illinois Aug. 5.
Despite the scam, it seems Valentine was able to make his future wife’s wedding dream come true. A Facebook post by Valentine’s wedding planner says the July 21 festivities included a surprise performance by Tom Petty & The Heartbeakers.