Casting Director Found Guilty in Pay-to-Play Audition Scam
The first jury trial in the L.A. City Attorney office's sweeping crackdown — which included footage taken by an undercover actor — follows additional plea deals, pushing the total past a dozen professionals.
Veteran casting director Lindsay Chag was found guilty Tuesday of a misdemeanor for violating California’s Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act. It was the first jury trial following Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s sweeping 2017 crackdown of pay-to-play auditions that had already resulted in more than a dozen plea deals for other casting professionals, many involved in high-profile television productions, as well as the closures of multiple area “workshop” companies.
Chag was sentenced to three years’ probation and 100 hours of community service for participating in what was deemed an unlawful arrangement at The Actors Alley, which has since gone out of business. (Owner Bradley Sachs was the first to plea last year.) She also was ordered to pay $350 in fines and restitution.
Key at the trial was undercover footage obtained by actor James Runcorn, who wore a wire while attending casting workshops as part of a lengthy City Attorney’s Office investigation. Case prosecutor Mark Lambert helped draft the Krekorian legislation that was enacted nearly a decade ago.
“Through this successful prosecution, and others like it, my office is working to end pay-to-play casting scams that take advantage of aspiring actors pursuing their dreams,” says Feuer. “I again want to commend Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert for his tremendous work in fighting to uphold the laws protecting these workers.”
Chag’s attorney, Shepard S. Kopp, tells The Hollywood Reporter: “While I respect the jury’s verdict, I could not disagree with it more vehemently. In my view, this prosecution was tainted from the outset when they sent in an undercover actor with an agenda not to learn anything at this particular workshop.”
Preceding Chag’s conviction were a series of additional recent agreements with the City Attorney's office. Gillian Brashear, the owner of The Casting Network, consented to perform 120 hours of community service and that, through a separate plea, her business would suspend operations for 36 months. She also will pay a $5,000 fine. Meanwhile, casting associates Alexa Pereira and Kimberly Ehrlich, who respectively appeared at The Actors Link (since rebranded as ACE Studios) and the since-shuttered Your Studio Productions, each were allowed to resolve their matters through "informal diversion," meaning no plea entered, since they only participated in one or two workshops. They both will perform 25 hours of community service.