In an odd twist, the Florida company involved in the disappearance of a $200,000 payment made by the University of Hawaii Athletic Department claims to be the successor to a North Carolina firm linked to a ponzi scheme in which hundreds of people lost as much as $13 million.
The website of Miami-based Epic Talent, LLC, which allegedly controlled the bank account where the missing UH funds were deposited, says the company was formerly known as BAB Productions Inc.
Over the last 15 years, Epic Talent (formally BAB Productions, NC), has grown to become a relaible (sic) consulting source for accessing big name entertainment for public concerts, corporate events and fundraisers around the world.
BAB Productions, Inc., was formed in December 1998, according to North Carolina corporation records. However, the company failed to file any required reports with the state until threatened with administrative dissolution in July 2004 after investigations of fraudulent sales of company securities were launched. The company was suspended from doing business in 2005, according to state records.
Two North Carolina men were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of 14 years and 20 years in 2009 for selling worthless promissory notes issued by BAB, which was used as a front for the Ponzi scheme, according to court records and news reports.
Among the victims were retired workers from an Abbott Laboratories manufacturing plant in Rocky Mount, NC, many of whom were swindled out of their entire retirement savings, some losing over $300,000.
It isn’t clear from available records whether BAB Productions was directly implicated in carrying out the fraud. The two men convicted in the case were in securities sales and did not appear to be directly associated with the company, although BAB was named as a defendant in at least one of the resulting civil lawsuits.
It also isn’t clear from corporation records how or whether Epic Talent is actually related to the BAB Productions from North Carolina.
A BAB Productions Inc. was registered at a Palm City, Florida address in May 2005, but was administratively dissolved by Florida officials after it failed to file annual reports.
Despite the vague connection between the companies, the association–easily tracked online–should have raised warning signs for university officials if anything other than cursory checking had been done.