There are lots of reasons why a concert gets canceled. The artist is sick, has travel issues, doesn't sell enough tickets, and we all know the unfortunate reasons it has so often occurred in the last couple of years. Here's a new one. The concert was never booked in the first place because the promoter was a fraud.
The pandemic has taken away the consistent stream of concerts (give or take a handful here and there, but it just hasn't been quite the same) from our lives. So one could be forgiven for wanting to pounce on whatever show is made available.
This story, from MSN via KCRG, describes circumstances that took place before the pandemic, between 2017-19 but it doesn't make the damage any less despicable. A man from Chicago is in jail for defrauding several nationwide music venues. Per a separate report from Radio Iowa, those included 6 in Iowa out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash for non-existent concerts. He wouldn't book the concerts or send the money to the artists. He'd keep it for himself, leaving venues in the lurch who had actually advertised these shows and later found out they were phony.
While operating as a concert promoter, 43-year-old Romel Murphy managed to solicit and collect artist booking deposits and money for other expenses, without those concerts ever happening or even being planned to happen. Murphy made things very elaborate and official-looking, so much as even presenting very professional contracts, purporting to be from popular artists, when he had in fact signed the contracts himself.
He will now spend 77 months in federal prison and pay back the venues for $414,433.23. Murphy has a prior record of fraud, including three prior convictions for federal fraud-related offenses. He committed two of those offenses while on federal supervised release.
Again, none of the venues are named in the case, but if you've ever wondered if there is sometimes more to the story of a canceled concert than meets the eye, here is one instance where that is the case.