A MAN known among members of the local entertainment fraternity has defrauded hip-hop artiste Trinidad-born Nicki Minaj and the producers of her music video "Pound the Alarm" which was filmed here last week.
The fraudster took more than $100,000 to render services towards the production of the music video and delivered nothing.
This created a production and logistical nightmare for the producers and crew, but the quick thinking of film director, Benny Boom, his team and several locals who were involved in the project saved the day.
A report has been made to the police by the producers, London Alley Entertainment of New York, USA, who were told that for now the case is being treated as a breach of contract.
No one involved wants to go on record to confirm the identity of the individual, but there are whispers among people involved in the local film, fete production and soca arenas about the suspect.
A spokesperson from London Alley Entertainment, which shot and produced the music video, confirmed to the Express yesterday that the man took money from them and did not deliver on any of the services agreed on.
The spokesperson also confirmed that a report was made to the police and that they expected to have the funds returned within coming days.
"London Alley Entertainment did file a report with the local Fraud Squad about an individual in Trinidad receiving money from them to provide services involved with the local end of producing the music video for 'Pound The Alarm' by Nicki Minaj. At this time it is not a case of fraud, but being treated as a breach of contract. We are also confirming that it is around the sum of $100,000 and we are expecting that the money will be returned without legal process," the spokesperson said, on the condition of anonymity.
The Express learned that the man, who himself owns a video production business, has in the past taken money from local event producers and others several times promising to provide various services that he never delivered on or provided shoddy service, often times at the very last minute after having been confronted and threatened.
Minaj arrived in Trinidad last Tuesday and the video shoot took place at several places around Trinidad with the main event coming off at the Grand Stand of the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain and at Jerningham Avenue, Belmont where soca star, Machel Montano, was joined by Minaj on a music truck in what was a simulation of Carnival Tuesday.
A call had gone out for masqueraders to come out in their Carnival costumes to be a part of the 500 people wanted for the parade.
Although the director contacted Tribe mas band to provide masqueraders before coming to Trinidad, people wearing costumes from other bands such as Island People and Dream Team also came out to the Savannah.
Also included were traditional mas characters and other elements of Carnival. Making cameo appearances were Bunji Garlin and his wife Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez
This was the second music video shot here by director Benny Boom, who during the Carnival of 2000, shot scenes for the Jay-Z "Big Pimping" music video.
He was then and remains one of the most sought after music video producers in the United States having worked with Minaj, 50 Cent, Nas, T-Pain, R Kelly and Nelly to the Pussycat Dolls, Sean Paul, Trey Songz and New Kids on the Block.
He also directed the acclaimed films Next Day Air and S.W.A.T. Fireflight.