WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. A White Plains attorney accused of conning a Los Angeles CEO into investing $225,000 in a fake Taylor Swift concert claimed Friday that he, too, was tricked.
Lawyers representing Emmanuel Bentil, 47, released a statement saying Bentil pitched the fictitious concert because he mistakenly believed that Derrick Robinson, 29, represented the country star. Bentil was unaware that Robinson was engaging him in fraud and forgery, the statement said.
Bentil "immediately" prevented Kachik Mouradin, CEO of Omega Alpha Enterprises, from sinking an additional $150,000 into the scam once he realized that Robinson had lied about his relationship with Swift, Bentil's lawyers said.
The Westchester District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that Bentil and Robinson were each charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The three felonies have both White Plains men facing a maximum of five to 15 years in state prison. Bentil would be disbarred if he were convicted of a felony.
The District Attorney's Office said Bentil used an "Artist Offer Letter" and a "Performance Agreement" with forged signatures from the CEO of Central Entertainment Group to convince Mouradin that he and Robinson were organizing a concert for Swift.
Bentil returned only the $150,000 when Mouradin confronted him about the scam, according to law enforcement officials.
Bentil's lawyers said the allegations he faces are "now over two years old, and have been dismissed by one court." The man who helped launch Erykah Badu, Indie.Arie and D'Angelo "thanks his family and friends for their support and awaits vindication for yet a second time," the statement said.
Bentil's next court appearance is scheduled for April 11. Robinson's next court date is April 2.
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