Debra Baum, the former manager for "Friday" star Rebecca Black as well as Paula Abdul, has been accused of violating the Los Angeles Talent Scam Prevention Act and may face up to two years in jail. The manager was charged with charging more than $100,000 illegally for representation and could also pay up to $20,000 in fines to the city.
Baum signed an unnamed 19 year-old singer to a contract charging $10,000 a month for representation during 2012. The vocalist stayed on the contract for seven months, totaling $70,000 as well as the additional $30,000 for recording and styling, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The issue is that vocalist didn't get anything out of it.
The Talent Scam Prevention Act, which was brought into law during 2009, works to protect small-time entertainment figures from being taken advantage of by over-aggressive managers. The main purpose is to ensure that managers don't charge clients with the promise of finding them work, as finding work in an entertainment industry the size of Los Angeles is less than guaranteed. Although it could be argued that the client in question should have known better than to sign such a deal, Baum knew better than to offer an advance-fee for her services.
Current Los Angeles city councilman Paul Krekorian pushed the bill during 2009, understanding how rough the entertainment industry could be on newcomers, many of whom stood to leave the business in debt due to shady management deals.
Baum wasn't a back-alley dealer however: She had served as a music supervisor on projects such as the films A Cinderella Story and What A Girl Wants, and had managed for Tears for Fears, as well as Black and Abdul. Black reported to The Hollywood Reporter that she had ceased working with Baum during 2013.