Florida Man Scams Casino Posing as The Village People Manager
June 9th, 2020 2.00pm
The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park, located in North Bend, Oregon, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in its area, offering visitors a comfortable hotel accommodation and lots of entertainment all year round.
One man took advantage of the popularity this venue had and even managed to book a concert of a popular disco band, taking a significant amount of money with him.
But let’s start from the beginning.
The Village People Scam
The unusual story began in Agust 2015 when a man introduced himself to the casino management as an owner of the company representing The Village People.
The cult American disco group ruled the dance floors during the 1970s and the 1980s, becoming a pop culture icon that needed no introduction. A Florida man claimed his company represented the group, and the two sides had quickly signed an agreement that would bring the band to Oregon.
In the end, the management of the Mill Casino Hotel signed a deal with the alleged manager of The Village People, paying around £10,000 for a one-night show by the famous group. When you think about it, that’s not a huge sum bearing in mind their popularity and the recognition of the Village People brand.
However, the management of the casino owned by the Coquille Indian Tribe was surprised to discover the band had an already booked show for the same date that the man, who introduced himself as Howard Harlib, the director of Premier Entertainment, sold to them.
And soon it was clear that the disco attraction known for its catchy hits like “Go West”, “In the Navy”, “Macho Man”, and of course – “YMCA”, would not be coming to Oregon.
Initially, Harlib refused to answer calls from the casino’s management, but in the end, he not only picked up the phone but even admitted everything was a scam and that he had no connection with the famous group. The whole act was just a part of his scheme to get the money from the casino. And although he successfully fooled the casino management, it seems run out of luck, as he has been behind bars since 2016 – on completely unrelated charges.
He Admitted to Defrauding the Casino
According to the information provided by the US Department of Justice, Harlib has recently pleaded guilty for having tried to scam the Oregon casino. The 67-year-old was charged on a single count of wire fraud.
The court sentenced Harlib to spend time in federal prison, and once he serves his punishment, he will remain under strict federal supervision for an additional 3 years. US Attorney Billy J. Williams also ordered the Florida man to return the money he took from the casino for The Village people show that could have never been arranged. Harlib will have to pay back nearly £10,000, but at this moment there is no information on how he plans to do it.
And although this was the first time that Harlib appeared in front of a federal judge, it wasn’t the first time he posed as a representative of a famous music band or performer.
Back in 2004, he posed as manager of the famous 1960s and the 1970s band Temptations, and even manage to book them to appear at various venues across Florida. He was later found guilty of grand theft.
During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gavin Bruce said he was most struck by Harlib’s history of scams, which related to the same pattern. Apart from this, Harlib was previously found guilty of impersonating a doctor.
He is a man of many talents, although none of them helped him avoid being arrested. We’re sure we’ll hear from him again.
The cult American disco group ruled the dance floors during the 1970s and the 1980s.