Lady Justice 4 16-9

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Friday he is pursuing misdemeanor charges against a talent manager accused of swindling an aspiring singer and her family out of more than $100,000.

City attorneys allege 53-year-old Debra Baum illegally charged a 19-year- old singer a $10,000 a month management fee for seven months, amounting to a total of $70,000.

Baum also charged additional amounts from third parties for vocal lessons, stylists and recordings. The singer’s sister also paid another $40,000 in management fees to help with her acting.

Attorneys say Baum violated the Talent Scam Prevention Act, which bars talent agents and managers charging advance fees in exchange for preferential treatment.

Baum faces up to 2 years of jail time and $20,000 in penalty fees if convicted. Her arraignment is set for Feb. 5.

The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs is also investigating the case.

Feuer also said with his office is working with the Screen Actors Guild and the BizParentz Foundation, which works with the parents of child entertainers, to spread the word about talent agents and managers who swindle aspiring actors, singers and other entertainers.

“Thousands come to Hollywood every year to pursue their dreams in the entertainment industry,” he said. “We need to protect them from those who would dash those dreams by taking unfair advantage of them.”

Feuer said information about such scams are available on his website:

http://atty.lacity.org/COMMUNITY/index.htm

—City News Service

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