BY JIM DOOLEY AND MALIA ZIMMERMAN – The alleged con artist accused of scamming the University of Hawaii out of $200,000 after falsely promising to bring Stevie Wonder to the Manoa Campus for an August 18 fundraising concert will appear Friday in Hawaii’s U.S. District Court.
Marc Hubbard, 44, of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, was indicted in Hawaii on November 8, 2012, on wire fraud charges, and was originally scheduled to be in Hawaii on November 23, but at the defense’s request, his arraignment will be delayed a week until November 30.
Hubbard has been on home detention since being arrested November 8. South Carolina officials earlier charged Hubbard with fraudulently obtaining $700,000 based on false promises to promote a 2008 concert by entertainer Alicia Keys.
Sean Barriero, 44, of Miami, Florida, and head of Epic Talent LLC, has admitted to partnering with Hubbard on the “Wonder Blunder” concert scam.
Barriero was indicted on November 8, and pled guilty that afternoon to a charge of illegal interstate transportation of money obtained through fraud.
Robert Peyton, a Hawaii promoter, made the arrangements for the Stevie Wonder concert, and separately lost $50,000. He has not been criminally implicated in the deal.
Peyton originally negotiated the Wonder contract with Helen Williams of Elite Entourage Management in Spain after she claimed to be Wonder’s international agent. Williams, on her My Space Page, also claims that from 1982–1987, she “worked with Stevie Wonder and Won-Direction Records in Los Angeles, CA. as a CO-Publisher/Artist/Writer/Producer” and “helped to create a multi-cultural group, The MYX,” which Williams said “signed a lucrative recording deal with Stevie Wonder’s record label.”
Williams proposed using Barriero’s bank account to facilitate the wire transfer.
On the Internet, Williams claims to be managing director and founder of Elite Artists Live, with operations in England and Spain. She writes: “I am lucky to work in the music industry. Music is my passion. Helping others to make their dreams come true realizes my dreams. I love my job.”
Williams, who claims to be based in Spain, has not returned emails from Hawaii Reporter.
According to the indictment, Barriero split the $200,000 between various parties: $120,000 to Hubbard; $11,250 to Helen Williams and he kept $68,750 for himself. Barriero also dispersed the $50,000 obtained through Peyton as follows: $27,500 to Marc Hubbard in North Carolina; $8,750 to Helen Williams of Elite Entourage Management in Spain; and Barriero kept $13,750.
Barriero’s finance, Sannise “Sunny” Crosby, was also found by law enforcement with a 2010 Mercedes Benz that Barriero reportedly purchased with the funds he received. Although she is listed as an account executive with Epic Talent, and purported EPIC Talent represented Wonder and other celebrities when they did not, she has not been charged with a crime.
There is little chance of the University’s $200,000 being returned – all of the money has been spent by Hubbard and Barriero on personal and business expenses, the FBI said.
The University could have lost additional funds if Wonder’s real agents had not contacted the university just after the institution began selling concert tickets.
In May 2012, Peyton’s company BPE entered into an agreement with Elite and Epic Talent to bring Stevie Wonder to Hawaii for two shows. The total fees were a $50,000 binder, and $325,000 deposit due June 22, and a $355,000 deposit due August 1. Those fees were for shows on Oahu at UH and on Maui. The total cost for the show at UH was $450,000 and a $250,000 deposit and binder were required.
According to federal documents, Williams received two wire transfers from Barriero: $8,750 and $11,250. Williams has not been charged with a crime or arrested.
Hubbard could spent up to 20 years in prison and Barriero as many as 10 years in prison if they are convicted.