Boy-Band Mogul Faces Florida Probe

Boy-band hitmaker Lou Pearlman is the target of a Florida state probe into complaints that hundreds of aspiring models and actors were duped into paying up to $1,500 each for spots on his company's We

Boy-band hitmaker Lou Pearlman is the target of a Florida state probe into complaints that hundreds of aspiring models and actors were duped into paying up to $1,500 each for spots on his company's Web site. Clients say they were led to believe that Pearlman's company, Trans Continental Talent Inc., would help them find work -- not just post their pictures online.

The investigation, which began in August, has turned up "hundreds of potential violations" but no one who actually landed a job through the company, Assistant Attorney General Jackie Dowd said.

Pearlman, best known for launching the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, issued a statement saying he was unaware of the investigation.

Florida law prohibits talent agencies from collecting fees upfront, but the promoter said Trans Continental was exempt because it is a "scouting" company that finds talent without marketing it.

The company's Web site warns hopeful models that "chances of becoming a superstar in this industry are slim" and the company "will not book you directly." But Trans Continental claims more than 1,000 agencies and clients are registered with it.


AP LogoCopyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.