The E’ville Eye’s tagline is “We have our eye on Emeryville” and we mean this. I spend hours combing the interwebz for content, setting news alerts and scouring social media for any “Emeryville” related news. Two weeks ago I stumbled upon an innocuous alert for an “Emeryville Crab & Brewfest” to be held on October 29th. The Event promised “600 craft beers” and “150 acclaimed restaurants and chefs” with proceeds benefiting the “Emeryville Artist Agency”. Craft beer, crab, live music … in our own backyard? It all sounded a bit too good to be true, and it apparently was.
“BrewFest is a unique event celebrating craft beer and live music. The event is a collaborative effort of Emeryville Artist Agency and many local breweries and chefs combining to raise money for Emeryville Artist Foundation. Enjoy unlimited samples of over 600 craft beers from local and regional breweries. The 94.9 Main Stage will feature national headlining bands.”
The location of the event was noted as being at Bay Street with an annotation that “The Event does NOT take place at the Mall!” and recommended alternative forms of transportation because of limited parking. When we conferred with Bay Street management who are an advertiser of our site, they confirmed that they were not aware of such an event. The logistics for such a large event without the knowledge of them set off some red flags. We then reached out to the City and The Emeryville Celebration for the Arts to inquire about the existence of the “Emeryville Artist Agency” which they confirmed to be bogus.
— Chief Tejada (@ChiefTejada) October 4, 2016
The offices for the event were listed at the Watergate Office Tower on Powell. After the EPD paid them an in person visit to inquire about their event, they quickly vacated the premisses. The EventBrite event that had tickets listed between $50-$80 was reported and subsequently taken down. The event was even advertised in SF Weekly who reportedly were not paid in full and unable to collect the balance of debt.
The domain for the site was registered to a “Dalla Brooks” (our understanding is that this is an alias) through an organization called “Innovation” with an address listed in SF.
It is unknown how many victims of the online scam there were, but anyone who purchased tickets for the event is encouraged to call the Emeryville Police Department at (510) 596-3700 to help their investigation. TheCityFest.com site also lists an event in San Diego in December.