Dallas Concert Promoter Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charge

Ed Steele
The cover of a recent Dallas Observer profiled Gabe Reed.
Dallas concert promoter Gabe Reed wanted to be a rock star. In the late '80s, he assumed the persona “Tomi Child” and made an appearance in documentary filmmaker Penelope Spheeris' Decline of Western Civilization II: the Metal Years.

Reed put down the microphone, picked up a law degree at SMU, and began billing himself as a concert promoter and entertainment attorney — although the Texas State Bar has no record of him passing the bar exam. He soon found himself rubbing elbows with rock royalty as he booked various supergroup rock star tours. He even made an appearance on Kiss rock legend Gene Simmons' reality show, Family Jewels.

Now he's a convicted felon.

Reed pleaded guilty Friday to a federal wire fraud charge as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. “I am pleading guilty because I am guilty of the charge and wish to take advantage of the promises set forth in this agreement and not for any other reason,” Reed indicated in his Sept. 26 signed response.

These advantages include dismissal of the remaining four counts against him and recommendation of two-level reduction in the applicable sentencing guidelines for the offense level, as well as a prison term no longer than the low end of the applicable sentencing guidelines. The U.S. Attorney's Office also won't oppose his petition for residential drug and alcohol treatment.

The Sept. 26 plea agreement also indicates that the statutory maximum sentence the court can impose is 20-year imprisonment, a three-year period of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater. 

Reed is also battling a civil suit with his ex-wife. She's searching for Reed's sailboat, which she wants the court to make him sell to pay the $13,500 in spousal support she says she's owed.

“The only money I have received for my support has been borrowed from my family and friends or from me pawning my personal possessions,” she said. “Gabriel and I do not have any community accounts from which I can withdraw money from, and I have no other way to collect support.”

Reed has been in the process of selling memorabilia on eBay from his days as a concert promoter for Rock N' Roll All Stars and the Metal All Stars tours. He was supposedly in the process of booking Gene Simmons for another rock supergroup tour titled Titans of Rock when law enforcement officials appeared in the middle of the night and captured him in Collin County in April 2016.

Reed was like a ghost when it came to dealing with some of his investors. His actions haunted them and led to the creation of the Stop Gabe Reed Productions Facebook page, a place for his victims to gather and share stories of his misdeeds and maps of where he'd last been seen. Federal agents claimed he'd conned about $1.9 million out of 15 victims.

But it wasn't hard for the feds to find him. He'd been leaving a trail of lawsuits since at least 2011, as pointed out in our May 16 feature story. A source claimed that a federal agent investigating the case had heard from dozens of people who claimed to be Reed's victims after our story published. The feds focused on three victims in the updated complainant, identifying them only by their initials: S.K., I.F. and M.C.

The feds pointed out in the May 22 updated complaint that Reed had been weaving a web of deception since 2008, when he “knowingly and with intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors, promoters, and performers who provided funds to defendant Reed in connection with musical concerts and World Wrestling Entertainment events.”

The feds claimed Reed told investors that certain performers had agreed to perform and the funds would be used to pay for their expenses.

“The representations were false,” wrote acting U.S. Attorney Sandra Brown. “The events were never booked or defendant Reed intended to cancel the events in advance; the performers had not agreed to participate in the events; and the victims' funds would not be used to organize and promote the events. Rather, defendant Reed used the victims' funds to pay his personal expenses, including the payment of his rent, utility bills and travel expenses, which he failed to disclose to the victims.”

The feds charged him with five counts of wire fraud. The first one occurred in November 2012 when the victim S.K. transferred approximately $85,000 to Reed, followed by another $40,000 in May 2013. The third one took place in April 2015 when I.F. transferred $250,000. Six months later, M.C. wired $50,000 to Reed, followed by another $50,000 a few days later.

“In fact, anyone that has ever worked with me on a tour or show has always been paid as agreed,” Reed told the Observer in June 2016.

He is awaiting sentencing.