He booked Whites of Westport for a concert by rhythm and blues performer Will Downing, and sold tickets at $27 and $47 apiece.
But Westport Police say Will Downing was nowhere near Westport on the date of that performance.
The singer’s agent told said he was actually booked to perform at President Barrack Obama’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. at the same time, said police spokesman Detective Sergeant Antonio J. Cestodio.
As a result, Westport Police arrested Allen Ganeto, 61, who reported his address to be 81 Blanding Avenue in East Providence, after a several day investigation that involved numerous officers.
The police department was alerted to the crime by Whites of Westport after a man booked an event with a check on a closed account. The man had spoken with the White’s staff on several occasions and advertised a concert that was supposed to take place on January 19. Mr. Ganeto printed concert posters with Mr. Downing’s photo and also had tickets made for the phony event.
Mr. Ganeto told Whites of Westport that he had sold nearly 400 tickets to the show. Police later learned that he had taken cash for tickets and had actually sold about 50 tickets for the event.
Mr. Ganeto allegedly promoted the event as far as the Boston area, Det. Cestodio said, as well as in New Bedford where he worked as a basketball coach. Most of the people he took money from were acquaintances of his through that basketball organization.
Police also learned that this was not the first time that Mr. Ganeto promoted and took money for a false event.
Officer Scott Davis spoke with staff at the Venus de Milo restaurant in Swansea where Mr. Ganeto had planned, and printed tickets for a concert that was supposed to have another R&B artist, Howard Hewitt, perform in October 2012.
That event was also a scam orchestrated by Mr. Ganeto, police say, and never took place either, although that tome some people were given their money back.
On Saturday , Jan. 19, (the same day as the phony event), Mr. Ganeto met with Westport Police after numerous calls to him were made during the week. Mr. Ganeto explained that he gave all the cash earned through ticket sales to a partner. He said he and his business partner had been engaged in a company identified as AM Detailing in South Dartmouth, Mass.
Mr. Ganeto told police that he had paperwork to show that he believed the Westport event was legitimate but was unable to provide any such evidence.
Approximately 30 people arrived at Whites on Saturday night only to find no Will Downing, no concert. Det. Cestodio said Mr. Ganeto arrived at Whites posters and tickets but no money and no concert paperwork.
He was arrested by investigators and charged with larceny by check (to Whites of Westport) and larceny by false pretenses over $250 by a single scheme. Police are asking that anyone with information about AM Detailing or Mr. Ganeto promoting the fraudulent event to contact the Westport Police Detective Division at (508) 636-1122.