A Chris Brown concert announced Tuesday for Vancouver that wound up being a fake started with some schmoozing at the MTV Music Awards pre-party, poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
A couple of talent buyers from B.C.-based Chronico Music Group were approached by a man identifying himself as an agent. The man pitched a number of shows – including Chris Brown.
"We did our research on him," says Chronico's Mike Pioroda. "At the pool party, he was actually with a couple of other celebrities, so we knew he was in the industry. And we made a couple of background calls to clients we worked with and everything checked out. He was legit, as far as we knew." (The other celebrities were an NBA player and two musicians, whom Pioroda declined to name.)
Chronico went ahead with the deal, scheduling a show with the hip hop and R&B star at the Pacific Coliseum on Nov. 10. A deposit was paid to the agent, who claimed to work with Tina Davis, Brown's manager.
"He set up a fake bank account under Tina Davis's name over in New York and our talent buyers paid him by cheque," alleges Pioroda, who wouldn't say how much money Chronico was out because of the deal.
On Tuesday morning at about 10:30, a news release went out. "Chris Brown breezes into Vancouver, November 10th" read the headline.
In the release, Chronico President Clarence Au enthused: "For the first time in Vancouver, concert goers will have the chance to experience Chris Brown's electrifying dance moves, smooth vocals, and showman skills on stage."
About an hour later, Chronico received a call from Davis. "[She]gave me a call directly telling me that the agent was not representing her and all else was false," says Pioroda.
Davis had been informed by the concert-promotion giant, Live Nation, according to Pioroda, and, after contacting Pioroda, sent a cease and desist order to the false agent.
Then Brown himself weighed in on Twitter: "The Vancouver show is a FAKE!!" he tweeted.
Pioroda says he was "shell-shocked" when he found out what happened. Chronico issued a second release Tuesday afternoon, saying they were victims of fraud and that the show was cancelled.
Tickets had not yet gone on sale for the show.
Now, says Pioroda, he is working with Davis "to try to find the guy."
Brown's F.A.M.E. tour kicked off in Toronto Sept. 12 and is scheduled to wrap Oct. 30 in Hartford, Conn.