Man Claims Scam Began at Car Dealer’s

CLEVELAND (CN) – Car salesmen tipped con men to a rich man’s finances, and they rolled him for $350,000 in a concert-promotion scam, the man claims in court.
     Rodger Saffold III sued Michael J. Croom, Reggie Cohen, Desmond Cummings and Liberty Ford Inc., in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
     Saffold claims that he bought a car from Liberty Ford, which obtained his financial information for the sale. Saffold says he bought the car “through his agent,” who was his father.
     Then, he says in the complaint, “Liberty, using its customer database and the confidential information provided by the agent and working in concert with defendants Croom, Cohen and Cummings, “identified or assisted in identifying Rodger Saffold III as a potential investor in a concert scheme whereby these defendants would entice Saffold into investing in performances by various musical artists in various locations in the United States.”
     Defendant Cohen works for Liberty Ford, defendant Croom for (nonparty) Collection Buick GMC, Saffold says in the complaint.
     The defendants duped him for more than $350,000 they claimed they would use to fund concerts for Pit Bull, Katt Williams and Young Jeezy, none of whom are parties to the complaint, Saffold says. He claims the defendants canceled most of the shows and refused to open their books or share profits from the others.
     Saffold claims the defendants approached them through his father. After a number of phone calls to this “agent,” Saffold says, he agreed to meet with the defendants, who “explained to Saffold that they had secured a contract with entertainer Katt Williams for three (3) shows to be held in Pittsburgh, PA and Cleveland, OH,” the complaint states.
     “Based on the representations that (1) Katt Williams had signed on for three (3) shows and (2) that Saffold would recover his original investment and be entitled to one-half of the profits for any concerts in which he invested, and (3) that Saffold would net no less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00), Saffold agreed to invest in the investment scheme. These representations were made at that meeting by defendants Croom, Cohen and Cummings,” the complaint states.
     Shortly after investing an initial $50,000 through his company and co-plaintiff Spirit of 76 Investments, Saffold says, he was told “the Katt Williams shows had to be canceled and that in their place would be shows by Erykah Badu and Eddie Griffin, which were scheduled for December 29, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio and December 30, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.”
     “Thereafter, defendant Cummings asked Saffold, through his agent, to fund Katt Williams’ show in Greensboro, NC scheduled for November, 2011. In reliance on all of the preceding representations regarding the investment scheme, Saffold wrote a check in the amount of twenty-two thousand, two hundred and twenty-five dollars ($22,225.00). At the insistence of defendant Cummings, this check was made out in the name of Dahlsena Callahan. Cummings personally picked up the check from Saffold’s agent.
     “Cummings told Saffold’s agent that Saffold’s share of the profits from the Katt Williams show would be available after the show. In reliance on that information, Saffold had his agent fly to North Carolina to attend the show. However, when the show ended, Cummings informed Saffold’s agent that the money would be withheld by the concert venue for two weeks.”
     Saffold claims the defendants told him that his $30,000 investment in the Badu and Griffin shows in Cincinnati “resulted in profits to Saffold of ninety thousand dollars ($90,000.00). As of the date of the filing of this complaint, Saffold has not recovered this ninety thousand dollars ($90,000.00) from defendants.
     “In December, 2011 defendant Cummings informed Saffold that the Badu and Griffin show in Cleveland would be canceled. They have not reimbursed Saffold for the money that he invested in that show.
     “In 2012, while Saffold was continually asking to be paid, defendants Croom, Cummings and Cohen told Saffold on numerous occasions that he would be paid but that in order to get paid he had to continue to fund additional concerts. In reliance on the promise of payment, Saffold provided an additional seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00) for a show called the ‘Maybach Tour’. After paying the money for this show, these defendants informed Saffold that the show had been canceled. However, these defendants have never returned the seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00) to Saffold.”
     As a coup de grace, Saffold says, he invested more money to fund Young Jeezy and Pit Bull concerts in California and Las Vegas, but – guess what? – the defendants told him “that the Young Jeezy shows were canceled due to low ticket sales but that the Pit Bull shows had pre-sold more than three million dollars ($3,000,000.00) in tickets. At the end of all the shows, defendant Cummings informed Saffold that his share of the profits was one million, fifty-eight thousand dollars ($1,058,000.00).
     “As of the date of the filing of this complaint, no money has been paid to Saffold.”
     Saffold seeks compensatory and punitive damages for fraud and breach of contract.
     He is represented by Randy Hart of Beachwood, Ohio.

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