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L.A. City Attorney Charges Five Casting Workshops in Alleged Talent Scam

Variety logo Variety 2/9/2017 Gene Maddaus
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L.A. City AttorneyMike Feuer announced on Thursday the filing of criminal charges against 25 people involved in five casting workshops, alleging that they charged aspiring actors for auditions in violation of state law.

The charges follow a year-long investigation, in which an undercover actor working for the City Attorney’s office attended 13 workshops given by five companies. Among those charged are 18 instructors at those workshops, including casting directors and their assistants.

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

The defendants each face up to a year in county jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted. The charges involve five workshop companies: The Actor’s Link, The Actor’s Key, Actors Alley, Casting Network, and Studio Productions.

Under the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, passed in 2009, casting workshops are forbidden from charging a fee for access to auditions.

SAG-AFTRA released a statement supporting the prosecution. “Preying on the hopes and dreams of artists is one of the oldest scams in Hollywood,” said the union’s general counsel, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

Among the defendants are casting directors and associates with extensive film and TV credits, including:

— Ty Harman, who did casting on Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet”

— Scott David, who worked on the CBS show “Criminal Minds”

— Becky Silverman, of “Criminal Minds,” “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” (Bravo) and “American Horror Story” (FX)

— Nancy Foy, a former 20th Century Fox casting executive

— Peter Pappas, of “Two and a Half Men” (CBS) and “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

— Rachel Rose Oginsky, of “Masters of Sex” (Showtime) and “Suits” (USA)

— Eddie Jaszek, of ABC’s “Castle” and “Agent X” (TNT)

— Miriam Hoffman, of CBS’s “The Millers”

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