(CN) – A man who swindled investors, promoters and performers by promising to organize events and instead pocketed financial investments for personal use was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison Monday.
Gabriel Reed, 47, represented himself as a promoter and organizer of hard rock concerts and World Wrestling Entertainment events for almost nine years. Reed took victims’ investments, promising that events would take place, certain performers had signed on, and that funds would be used to promote the events.
Instead of using the money for concerts and other events as promised, Reed, who conducted business under the name Gabe Reed Productions, used investor funds to pay his rent, utility bills and travel expenses, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez sentenced Reed to 57 months in federal prison.
Reed pleaded guilty in November to one count of wire fraud, admitting at the time that he defrauded his victims by making false promises and then using their money for personal expenses, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
According to prosecutors, Reed operated a sophisticated scheme, which included creating fictitious email addresses and showing potential investors samples of artist contracts he had fabricated. He also created fake bank statements to convince his victims that their funds were being legitimately invested.
Reed solicited investors by touting what he claimed were established relationships with well-known musicians. He even showed them stage props from alleged previous tours and produced artificial records of music events.
When he pleaded guilty, Reed specifically admitted defrauding one Los Angeles investor, who agreed to put $100,000 into a 2016 concert tour Reed was calling “Titans of Rock.” However, many of the promised artists had not agreed to participate in the purported tour, according to court documents.
U.S. Attorney Central District of California spokesman Thom Mrozek said prosecutors have asked Judge Gutierrez to order Reed to pay restitution to his victims. The court will schedule a hearing, likely early this summer, to determine the amount of restitution.
Reed is a former Malibu resident who currently lives in McKinney, Texas.