City attorney files criminal charges against Hollywood talent manager
The Los Angeles city attorney's office has charged a veteran Hollywood talent manager with multiple counts of violating the state's talent-scam prevention law.
Patrick W. O'Brien, 51, operator of Pat O'Brien Talent Management and Talent Marketing and Promotions Inc., was charged this week with six criminal counts, including grand theft, false advertising, operating an advance-fee talent representation service and failing to file a $50,000 bond with the state Labor Commission.
The charges stemmed from a complaint filed by an Arizona mother who moved to California with her 15-year-old son after he was invited by O'Brien's group to audition for a part in a teen sitcom project. The mother alleged that the audition was a ploy to sign a management contract with O'Brien and that she paid nearly $3,000 for a photo shoot and acting classes. He later refunded her most of the money, the city attorney's office said.
If convicted on all counts, O'Brien could face up to five years in jail and $51,000 in fines for conducting a "bait-and-switch scam on an aspiring actor and his mother," according to the city attorney's office.
O'Brien said in an interview Tuesday that the criminal charges were baseless. "I've been in this business for 21 years and I've never had a situation like this,'' he said. "The city attorney's office is trying to regulate the business so much, it's making it difficult for legitimate companies to operate."
The case is the fourth one that the city attorney's office has filed under the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009, which prohibits agents, managers and others representing talent from charging fees other than commissions, among other requirements. Last week, a Studio City-based talent manager and his company Roses Entertainment Group were charged with multiple criminal counts; they were accused of operating an industry "boot camp" for children that the city attorney said placed several minors at risk of harm.
-- Richard Verrier