A top music producer has been the victim of brazen identity theft by a convicted felon who allegedly impersonated his way into a Hollywood Records studio.
Eric Valentine, who has worked with Maroon 5 and Queens of the Stone Age, filed a lawsuit Dec. 8 in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that a man named Louis Adkinson has assumed his identity and shopped producing services throughout the music industry.
The lawsuit claims Adkinson, whose adoptive brother is the manager of Valentine's Los Angeles recording facility, broke into his office and stole a plaque commemorating Valentine's work on the "Shrek" soundtrack. According to the suit, Adkinson and Damon Elliot, another producer and the son of singer Dionne Warwick, then "conspired to misappropriate and trade off the good will of Valentine's name and use that name to steal from musicians and others who wanted to work with Valentine."
Calls to Adkinson were not returned. But in an e-mail he sent to associates after was served with the suit at the Salt Lake City airport, Adkinson admitted he had no ties to Valentine and said he was "very sorry that these matters have arisen and I beg you not to question Damon as a Grammy Award-winning producer."
In an interview Thursday, Valentine, whose given name is Eric Dodd, said he first learned that someone was impersonating him in June 2008 when his lawyer got a call from Hollywood Records asking about his erratic behavior.
"He endears himself to people and gets entrenched in their family lives," Valentine said of Adkinson. "He portrays himself as a high roller and tells people he can make them a music star."
Mark Ballas, a "Dancing With the Stars" dancer who records albums with fellow "DWTS" star Derek Hough, said Adkinson initially fooled him into believing he was recording with the real Valentine.
"For the first week, he had us," Ballas said. "He said he'd worked on Maroon 5, he had pictures on his phone holding up the real Eric Valentine's plaque from his office."
But Ballas, who has a music degree, began to notice that his producer might not be who he claimed he was.
"He didn't have any musical knowledge," Ballas said. "He didn't know a C chord. He didn't know anything."
Adkinson also asked for $500,000 for producing services. Hollywood Records execs then called Light, who tracked down Adkinson and threatened legal action.
In addition to the current case, Adkinson has been convicted of felonies including forgery. In July, reality TV star Nick Hogan sued Adkinson and Elliot for $130,000, claiming they bilked him after he agreed to invest in a record production company.
Adkinson also has been linked to music services for singer Taylor Dayne and Shawn King, the wife of broadcaster Larry King and a budding recording artist.
The Valentine lawsuit claims causes of action for unfair competition and violation of the state's business and professions code.