The San Luis Police Department launched an investigation last year after learning that the City was duped into a loss of $50,000 by a group posing as concert brokers who could potentially bring a high caliber Mexican band to play for the San Luis’s Barrier 2 Bridge conference in February of 2012.
Mayor Gerardo Sanchez said that “It was necessary to be able to close the books; we can’t leave that debt unresolved. Basically we are declaring it as a loss, even though the investigation has remained open in case we can get more leads and those people are found. But we can’t sue someone who’s not around.”
The City claims it will try to get the money back if the scammers get arrested. Yet this will prove to be somewhat difficult because the group was operating in Mexico.
The scammers were supposed to book music giant, Mana, a band based in Guadalajara, Mexico that has won several Grammy, Billboard and Latin Grammy Awards.
But a final contract never was established and Mana did not show up for the Barrier 2 Bridge conference. It wasn’t until last September that SLPD opened an investigation after the scam agency didn’t respond to repeated phone calls and e-mails from San Luis seeking a refund.
Councilman Joe Harper and Mayor Sanchez agree that the City’s only option was to write off the money as a loss. Councilman Harper stated, “Everything possible has been done to recover that money, and I don’t think we can do anything more. And we can’t continue throwing good money after bad. Eventually it’s going to end up costing us more than we could recover.”
Mayor Sanchez said that although the City lost a large sum of money, the loss was offset by savings unspecified in the City’s budget. He also said that new purchasing protocols will be put in place to ensure that it won’t be a victim of such a scam.
The investigation has not yielded any arrests.