MONTGOMERY CO. MAN ACCUSED OF PERPETRATING TALENT AGENT SCAM
Spitzer’s Office Files Lawsuit Seeking Restitution for Defrauded Actors


Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Montgomery County man who scammed dozens of actors into believing he was a talent agent and casting director for major motion picture studios.Eric Charles Roselli, also known as Eric Latham, of Amsterdam, is accused of fraud, deceptive business practices, false advertising and violations of a state law that prohibits advertisements for show business employment opportunities when an advance fee is a condition of employment.

“This individual pretended to be a movie talent agent and nearly convinced many people to pay in advance for an opportunity to appear in a movie,” Spitzer said. “But his claims were not substantiated and my office is now seeking restitution for those who were victimized.”

In June 2003, Roselli placed an advertisement in Backstage Magazine, a publication read by individuals in the entertainment industry. The advertisement invited aspiring actors to call a Manhattan telephone number for information about auditions purportedly affiliated with Paramount Studios and Warner Brothers.

Actors who called were told that auditions were being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany. Hundreds of individuals traveled to Albany, at their own considerable expense, to appear for the auditions.

Spitzer’s investigation revealed that Roselli was not affiliated with either Castles in the Skystudio and that every actor who auditioned was offered a role by Roselli on the condition that they pay him $552 to join the “Artists Union,” a non-existent entity.

Several actors recognized Roselli’s offer as a scam and reported it to Spitzer’s office. Fortunately, no one paid the fee sought by Roselli.

In filing the lawsuit, Spitzer’s office seeks a court order compelling Roselli to pay full monetary restitution and damages to all aggrieved consumers, civil penalties for his violations of state laws and costs. The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction against Roselli barring him from future fraudulent, deceptive and illegal practices.

Individuals wishing to file a complaint against Roselli are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s consumer help line at (800) 771-7755 or visit the office’s web site at www.oag.state.ny.us.

This case is being handled by Principal Attorney Robert Vawter of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.