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L.A. City Attorney Busts Five Casting Workshops For Charging For Auditions

Deadline logo Deadline 2/9/2017 David Robb
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The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against the operators of five casting workshops for allegedly charging actors for auditions in violation of the state’s Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009. If convicted, each of the 28 defendants – including 18 local casting directors – could face up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Arraignment is scheduled for mid to late March.

“As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles continues to attract thousands of aspiring performers from across the world,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said during a press conference today. “Unfortunately, pay-to-play casting schemes often exploit their dreams, purely for profit. My office will continue to crack down on those who would take advantage of performers desperate for work.”

The charges come after a year-long undercover investigation in which a professional actor working as an undercover informant under the direction of the City Attorney’s office attended 13 casting workshops conducted by five separate businesses. According to the City Attorney’s office, “The alleged activities at each of the individual workshops attended by the undercover informant were later verified by an independent expert witness as auditions or employment opportunities in direct violation of the Talent Scam Prevention Act.”

Proving that in court will be the key to winning convictions.

The five casting workshops named in the criminal prosecutions include:

— The Actors Link, where co-owners Scott David and Bret Weinstock were each charged with three counts of charging for auditions and one count of failing to use contracts conforming to the law. Three other associates – Michele Seamon, Alexa Pereira and Rebeca Silverman – were each charged with charging for auditions.

— The Actor’s Key, where operating members Kristin Elizabeth Caldwell, Katherine Elizabeth Shaw and Jessica Helen Gardner were each charged with three counts of charging for auditions. Casting directors Ricki Maslar and Nancy Foy, and casting associate Rachel Bacharach were each charged with one count of charging for auditions.

— Actors Alley, where owner Bradley Derrick Sachs was charged with two counts of charging for auditions and one count of failing to use contracts, and casting directors Ty Harman and Lindsay Chag were each charged with one count of charging for auditions.

— Casting Network, where its operator Gillian Brashear was charged with three counts of charging for auditions and one count of failing to use a contract, and casting assistant Chandra Reid and casting associates Eddie Jaszek and Miriam Hoffman were each charged with one count of charging for auditions.

— Studio Productions, where its operator Garret Camilleri was charged with two counts of charging for auditions and one count of failing to use a contract, and casting director Peter Pappas, casting assistant Stephanie Weatherbee and casting associates Darya Balyura, Amy Cohen, Kimberly Ehrlich, and Rachel Rose Oginsky were each charged with one count of charging for auditions.

SAG-AFTRA said it supports the prosecutions and will continue to work with the city. “Preying on the hopes and dreams of artists is one of the oldest scams in Hollywood,” said Duncan Crabtree Ireland, the union’s chief operating officer and general counsel. “We thank City Attorney Mike Feuer for enforcing the law and taking action to hold people accountable when they violate the law and take advantage of vulnerable people’s dreams. We will continue to work with the City Attorney’s Office to help protect our members and future members.”

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