A Los Angeles talent manager and his company have been charged with nine criminal counts for allegedly operating an advance-fee talent scheme that placed several minors at risk of harm.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office announced the allegations Tuesday. It said Nicholas Roses, 21, and his company, Roses Entertainment Group, were charged with seven misdemeanor counts, including three counts of operating an advance-fee talent representation service, one count of failing to file the proper $50,000 bond with the State Labor Commission, and one count of failing to use written artist contracts.
If convicted on all charges, Roses could face up to seven years in jail and more than $70,000 in fines and penalties. Arraignment is set for May 5.
Roses was not immediately available for comment.
The City Attorney’s Office said that it had been contacted in January by several parents who complained about Roses’ business practices. The parents, all Ohio residents, asserted that they had met Roses at an Ohio Talent agency workshop and that he offered to manage their children — ages 6, 13, and 14 at the time — and advised the parents to relocate to Los Angeles and sign up for his summer entertainment industry “boot camp”.
Each of the parents paid approximately $3,000 per child to attend a week-long “boot camp” in Los Angeles and complained the event was disorganized with participants ranging in age from six to 62. They alleged that Roses failed to provide adequate seating, sufficient food, water and breaks during the 12-hour program and that many of the children became ill — including one girl who developed swollen lungs, hives and rashes.
Roses is accused of violating the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009, which specifically prohibits talent services from engaging in the business of talent representation and charging money upfront for the promise of securing jobs. It also requires such services to post a $50,000 bond with the state and calls for use of unambiguous language in contracts with aspiring performers.
Moves comes a year after the city warned casting workshops and talent services that it would enforce tightened state rules barring “pay to audition” scams, with city attorney Carmen Trutanich sending out about 200 letters to notify the operators that the Krekorian Act had gone into effect (Daily Variety, April 22).
“The Talent Scam Prevention Act, which I wrote and passed while a member of the State Assembly, has proved to be invaluable for local prosecutors,” Councilmember Paul Krekorian said. “The act provides the tools they need to go after fraud artists who prey on children and others who are lured by promises of stardom and fame. I applaud the tremendous work of the City Attorney’s Office – and especially Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert – for once again helping to protect our most vulnerable residents and restoring hope to those whose dreams were swindled away.”