Hollywood manager convicted in $110,000 talent scam


Talent manager Debra Baum has been convicted of illegally charging $110,000 in up-front fees.

(Christina House / For the Times)

Hollywood talent manager Debra Baum has been convicted of charging the family of two aspiring entertainers $110,000 in illegal up-front fees.

In a four-count criminal case brought by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office in January, Baum was accused of violating the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act. The law, which went into effect in 2010, prohibits managers, agents and other people who represent actors to charge them any fees other than commissions.

Baum, 53, entered a plea of no contest to one count of operating an advance fee talent service on July 16. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Deborah Brazil sentenced Baum to 36 months summary probation and ordered her to serve 45 days in jail, or perform 20 days of community labor, according to a press release issued by the office of City Atty. Mike Feuer.

The city attorney’s office alleged in January that Baum solicited a 19-year-old singer in a hair salon, signing her to a $10,000-per-month management contract in 2012. By the time the deal was severed about seven months later, the singer’s family had paid Baum $70,000 in management fees, and spent thousands of dollars more with third parties on vocal training and other work.


Baum also was alleged to have ensnared the singer’s sister, leading the family to spend an additional $40,000 in an effort to further the sibling’s acting career. 

As part of her plea, Baum also has agreed to make restitution in the amount of $91,252.75.

She could not immediately be reached for comment. 

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