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Saturday, Dec 03, 2016
Arts & Music

Nicki Minaj, Drake concert in Polk was fake, sheriff's office says

The concert promoters made big promises. The October concert planned for a Winter Haven park would be headlined by Nicki Minaj and Drake, two world-famous entertainers. The promoters promised an audience of more than 10,000. That's when Polk County sheriff's investigators got a hunch that something was amiss. In the end, Phillip Bradley, 46, and his wife, Evelyn Bradley, 36, both of Lakeland, were arrested Monday. Investigators said they got $36,000 from investors for a concert that was never going to happen.
Phillip Bradley was charged with one count scheming to defraud, one count of grand theft more than $100,000 and one count unlawful use of two-way communication. Evelyn Bradley was charged with one count scheming to defraud and one count grand theft more than $20,000, according to the sheriff's office. When the county's parks department learned they anticipated 10,000 people to attend the October 24 concert at Simmers-Young Park in Winter Haven, they required Phillip Bradley to hire off-duty officers to work the show, said Carrie Eleazer, a Polk County sheriff's spokeswoman. When Phillip Bradley contacted the sheriff's office, investigators became suspicious, Eleazer said. "Immediately the investigative officers were like this isn't right," Eleazer said. "There is no way these two performers are coming here. That doesn't sound legit." A sheriff's undercover detective contacted the management for both performers. A representative for Minaj told investigators that she would be touring outside of the country at the time of the Oct. 24 concert. Drake's representative said he would be attending his birthday party in Las Vegas, according to the sheriff's office. The management for both performers had never heard of Phillip Bradley and his business named Big Apple Music Group, the sheriff's office said. A sheriff's undercover investigator called a phone number that advertised ticket sales. The undercover investigator was told that the $75 tickets were sold out. There would be more ticket sales the day of the show for $100 each, according to the sheriff's office. Undercover officers went to the park the night of the show, but no one showed up. It appears no one bought tickets, the sheriff's office said. Investigators learned that Keith Chabot of Jupiter had given Bradley $16,000 as an investment for the show. Chabot's mother and a family friend each gave $10,000, according to the sheriff's office. The money was wired to Evelyn Bradley's bank accounts, the sheriff's office said. A day before the concert, Phillip Bradley contacted Chabot to tell him the show was cancelled. Phillip Bradley told Chabot he was filing an insurance claim with Lloyd's of London, and the insurance claim would pay the investors. Chabot and the two other investors were never paid, the sheriff's office said. In 2009, Phillip Bradley was convicted of organized scheme to defraud in Palm Beach County, the sheriff's office said. Evelyn Bradley has a history of fraud in Wisconsin, the sheriff's office said. She appeared in Polk County court on Monday for writing a bad check to the landlord of the Lakeland home they're renting.

jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659 Twitter: @jpatinoTBO