Amazon Exec Defrauded By Fake Tom Petty Booking Agent

Amazon Exec Defrauded by Fake Tom Petty Booking Agent
By Vanessa Wong

Photograph by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage via Getty Images

It’s one thing when the wedding singer doesn’t show up. It’s another thing altogether when the wedding singer is Tom Petty, and he didn’t even know about the gig. Brian Valentine, senior vice president for’s (AMZN) e-commerce platform, mistakenly believed he booked Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for his Seattle wedding. In reality, he’d wired a $165,000 deposit to alleged Las Vegas fraudster Chad Christopher Lund, who was posing as a booking agent, according to the FBI. Valentine, who proposed to Amazon employee Gianna Puerini at a Petty concert in Seattle in 2010, last year tried to book the band through the LundLive Booking Agency. The agency claimed on its website that it has experience procuring and providing such live music acts as Xzibit, Run-DMC, Kansas, and Ludacris, according to the complaint.

In October 2011, Lund claimed he had negotiated with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to perform at Valentine’s wedding for $330,000 and required a 50 percent deposit (Valentine’s 2011 compensation at Amazon was $163,564, and he holds more than $7 million in company stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg). Lund then sent Valentine a contract containing the forged signature of band manager Tony Dimitriades.

After hiring, Hal de Becker of Las Vegas private investigation firm De Becker Investigations, Valentine received an e-mail from Lund offering to refund his deposit “out of my own personal funds.” But Lund also asked for some time, “as that is a lot of money for me.” Investigator Hal de Becker discovered a few days later that Lund had vacated his Las Vegas residence. It took a couple of months to locate him in Illinois.