Talent manager pleads no contest

The operator of a talent management company has pleaded no contest to two violations of the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009.

David Askaryar, 46, of Hollywood Stars Management and VIP Talent Web entered the pleas on Thursday. He’d been charged by the Los Angeles City Attorney with 16 violations in January.

The law 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.

Move 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).

Askaryar pleaded no contest Thursday to operating an advance-fee talent representation service and to operating a talent listing service without a bond.

He was sentenced on the first count to 36 months summary probation on the condition that he shut down the businesses and not to own, operate or be employed in any talent agency business, talent management business or any talent service (which includes any talent training service, talent counseling service and talent listing service). Failing to comply with these conditions will result in a six-month jail sentence, the City Attorney’s office said.

Askaryar was sentenced to 36 months summary probation on the second count and ordered to serve 90 days in jail or perform 30 days of community labor; pay $819 restitution to three victims named in the complaint; and pay $3,000 investigative costs.

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