Entertainment Agency Reps Charged With Fraud Against Parents Of Prospective Child Actors
Entertainment agency representatives were charged with fraud for bating parents of prospective child actors with the promise of appearing on a broadcast.
On May 6, Seoul Bangbae Police Station forwarded the fraud case involving entertainment agency CEO (hereafter referred to as “A,” age 48) and agency worker (hereafter referred to as “B,” age 48) to the prosecution. Yonhap News reported that “A” was arrested after a trial for a different fraud case during the investigation while “B” was currently not detained.
From October of 2016 to June of 2018, “A” falsely promised parents of prospective child actors with casting offers for films, dramas, or commercials, and they were accused of taking about 500 million won (approximately $426,500).
The two people accused used to be married, but they continued to work as business partners after their divorce. They set up an agency in the neighborhood of Bangbae in the Seocho district and targeted parents of prospective child actors. They approached their victims by saying, “Your child has been cast for a commercial as a child actor, so come take part in the audition.”
After partaking in the audition, the entertainment agency representatives would say, “[The child] has talent, but they lack acting skills.” They would postpone the appearance and trick parents by promising that they would cast their child after signing a fake exclusive contract and taking acting lessons.
The agency received approximately 3 million to 30 million won (approximately $2,600 to $25,600) for agency registration fees, and they requested 24 million won (approximately $20,500) to be paid per year for lesson fees, promising that they would teach acting, singing, and more.
Using a similar method, they stole as little as 3 million won (approximately $2,600) and as much as 7 million won (approximately $6,000) from 15 parents of prospective child actors that were in kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school.
When the promised broadcast appearance did not occur after a long period of receiving acting lessons with high tuition fees, a victim that suspected fraud sued the entertainment agency representatives on August 2018, and they were eventually caught by the police.
The police have determined that “A” and “B” set up an entertainment agency on at least three occasions and committed fraud by targeting parents of prospective child actors. The police are currently investigating their remaining crimes. Every time their crimes were about to be revealed, they closed their agency and reopened under a different name.
It was revealed that the victims had been unable to properly report the case to the police in fear that their children who were preparing for debut would be put at a disadvantage.
“A” and the entertainment agency team have admitted to receiving high tuition fees during the police investigation, but it was reported that they denied part of their charge. They said, “We worked hard to try to keep the promise of a broadcast appearance.”
A source from the police said, “[If an agency] requests high acting lesson fees with the condition of starring in a film, drama, commercial, or more, it may be an illegal business that appears to be a typical school-type agency, so take special caution.”