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Woman pleads guilty to wire fraud charge over bogus Justin Timberlake booking

By | Published on Thursday 4 November 2021

Justin Timberlake

An American woman accused of falsely telling the organisers of a benefit concert that she could arrange for Justin Timberlake or Bruno Mars to play their show has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy in relation to a $100,000 deposit payment the concert organisers paid.

Atlanta-based Carissa Scott claimed that she ran a music and booking agency called Canvas Media with her business partner Nancy Jean. They told the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation that they could arrange for Timberlake to play a fundraising show due to take place in late 2019, that the musician’s fee would be $500,000, and that a $100,000 advance payment was required to confirm the booking.

Having made that advance payment, the benefit concert’s organisers got concerned when Timberlake failed to promote the show on social media. Scott and Jean then said they’d need another $175,000 to be paid for the star to begin promoting the show. They later said that Timberlake’s fee had gone up to $800,000, but that they could secure Mars instead for $600,000 if $300,000 of that fee was paid upfront.

Increasingly suspicious about these new demands for payment, the organisers reported Scott and Jean to the FBI. An investigator from the bureau then approached the two women pretending to be a new backer of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation fundraiser who was also interested in using their services to book acts for other events.

They told the investigator that Timberlake and Mars had concerns about the Foundation’s show because all but their first request for deposit payments had been ignored. However, they added, they could also secure Drake, Flo Rida or Ed Sheeran for the concert.

By this point the feds had approached managers and agents for Timberlake and Mars, who knew nothing of the proposed Sandy Hook Promise Foundation show. They also discovered that Scott and Jean had spent a chunk of the $100,000 on leasing a Mercedes, going on shopping sprees and making sizeable cash withdrawals. The two women were then arrested in January 2020.

According to Law360, having pled guilty to the one charge of fraud, Scott will now be sentenced on 24 Feb. She has also been ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution. It’s not clear what this means for the criminal case against Jean, which is still seemingly going through the motions.