Okay, when it comes to wedding planning, we've heard all the horror stories about couples being swindled--fake diamonds, fake contracts, the works. However, here's a new one: A wealthy executive was recently fooled into booking reception music with a totally fake agency, who supposedly secured Tom Petty to play at his July nuptials.
As first broken by the Smoking Gun on Friday, Brian Valentine, a senior VP for Amazon, decided it would be fun to surprise his-wife-to-be at their Seattle wedding reception with a performance from one of their favorite acts, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. His motive was sentimental: The couple were engaged in 2010 at one of Petty's concerts.
After doing a little research, Valentine found a booking firm, Lund Live, which claimed to work with Petty, as well as other popular artists such as Run-DMC and Ludacris. After some haggling over the fee, Valentine paid owner Chris Lund a 50% deposit--a whopping $165,000--to secure the date.
However, after repeatedly running into dead ends with the contacts provided by Lund, Valentine finally got in touch with Petty's management company in April to discuss the upcoming booking. He was told they had never heard of Lund--or the proposed wedding date.
Valentine, who had received a contract purportedly inked by Petty's manager prior to paying the deposit, went to the FBI to report he'd been fleeced. Chris Lund was arrested late last week on felony fraud charges, and will appear in court Monday.
But, hey, what happened with the wedding? Well, there's a happy ending to the sordid story--there apparently was still time to book Petty for the couple's special day after all. After being secured through valid channels, the rocker arrived in Seattle to play the reception, turning a "Don't Do Me Like That" situation into "You Got Lucky."