6:35pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka, Joe Lynch, Billboard
Former Rebecca Black Manager Charged With Violating Talent Scam Prevention Act
A veteran music manager was charged with four counts of violating the Talent Scam Prevention Act, city attorney Mike Feuer announced at a press conference in L.A. on Friday.
Debra Baum is accused of illegally charging over $100,000 for representation and other talent management services. If convicted, she could face up to two years in jail and $20,000 in fines. She's scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 5.
The Talent Scam Prevention Act is meant to protect performers from scammers who charge them for entertainment industry contacts or opportunities that might never materialize. Its terms include that no agency can charge advance fees for the promise of finding work for clients, and it regulates how contracts are written and executed between talent and representation. (Read the text here.) It's relatively new litigation, signed into law in 2009, shepherded by Paul Krekorian, currently a city councilman.
Baum allegedly signed a 19-year-old singer to a $10,000-per-month management contract in March 2012. By the time her family terminated the contract in September 2012, they'd allegedly paid $70,000 to Baum in addition to thousands in related expenses, like styling and recording. Baum also allegedly signed the singer's sister and charged an additional $40,000 in acting management fees.
Over the years, Baum has managed acts such as Paula Abdul, Tears for Fears and even Rebecca Black after her music video "Friday" exploded on YouTube. (Black says Baum stopped managing her in June 2013.) She has also served as a music supervisor on films, including A Cinderella Story and What a Girl Wants.
She has not responded to THR's request for comment.