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Promoter Utsick defies the SEC

February 07, 2009|Associated Press

A once high-flying concert promoter of acts such as Aerosmith, Elton John and Shania Twain could face contempt charges for failing to show up in Miami for a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud case.

The promoter, John Utsick, 66, now lives in Brazil and refuses to return to the U.S. out of fear he'll be arrested for possible criminal violations, his attorney, Richard Kraut, said at a hearing Friday. The SEC wants to take his deposition regarding assets he took from his former company, Worldwide Entertainment Inc.

"Mr. Utsick has created this issue. He decided to flee," SEC attorney Robert Levenson said at the hearing.

The deposition dispute is the latest twist in a case first brought by the SEC in 2006 claiming that Utsick fleeced some 3,000 investors out of nearly $300 million between 1998 and 2005. Utsick, whose company promoted tours and concerts by top rock and country music acts and other shows, allegedly created a Ponzi scheme in which he paid older investors out of money from new investors, while his business actually lost money.

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