It all started when Brian Valentine, senior vice president with online retail behemoth Amazon.com, booked what he thought was the real Tom Petty to play his July wedding as a gift to his bride, Amazon vice president Gianna Puerini.
It seems the two Seattle-based execs got engaged at a Petty and the Heartbreakers concert two years ago, ergo it was fitting that the man himself would help launch the newlyweds into their wedded bliss.
But the man Valentine thought was the real Tom Petty wasn’t... or at least, Petty's booking agent. In a story reported by the Smoking Gun, it turns out the FBI have made a series of allegations against a man named Chad Christopher Lund. The complaint alleges that Lund defrauded a Seattle man identified as “B.V.” of $165,000 by pretending to be Tom Petty’s booking agent.
Prosecutors say “B.V.” found Lund’s company “after conducting some research on the internet” and corresponded with Lund via email before wiring $165,000 as a deposit on the $330,000 appearance.The charging papers allege that Lund forged the signature of Tom Petty’s manager.
Valentine – who GeekWire notes is in charge of Amazon’s e-commerce platform - figured out what was going on after contacting Tom Petty’s management company about the booking, only to be told that they had no idea what he was talking about, according to the criminal complaint. Valentine tried to get the money back but wasn’t able to.
Here’s the happy ending: because of his deep pockets, Valentine was still able to work out an arrangement to get Tom Petty to play the wedding, according to the Smoking Gun. Pictures of the performance were posted by the wedding planners on Facebook.
The planners write in the post, “After over a year and a half of working with an absolutely incredible couple in complete secrecy, it was beyond amazing to surprise the guests of their wedding with these amazing performances. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. Congrats G & B.”
This story also serves as a cautionary tale about due diligence when making purchases on the internet, especially when they cost in excess of $300K. Jeesh, make a follow-up phone call BEFORE you write that deposit cheque already.
Of course, it you can afford that kind of entertainment at your wedding (where most of us are lucky if a DJ can stay sober enough to remember Shania’s “From This Moment” at the end of the night) you can probably afford to lose it. Sigh. And now… back to the grind.
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