Local woman scammed by fake Tyler Perry

October 13, 2010 4:03:48 PM PDT
Fame has come with a price for the actor, director and playwright, Tyler Perry. He has been the subject for con artists for years and now a local woman has become the latest victim. A Houston woman thought she was getting the chance of a lifetime when none other than Tyler Perry seemed interested in her work, but it turns out the road to stardom has plenty of pitfalls.

There is no doubt Sharon Kirkland-Crawford has a passion for singing. Her determination to make it big as a gospel singer led her to contact Perry.

"I sent a letter, a message to Tyler Perry saying, I want to work with you, just randomly putting it out there," said Kirkland-Crawford.

She says after sending that message to Perry through a Facebook page, she got a quick response.

"So I get this message back saying, 'Hi, this is Tyler Perry,'" Kirkland-Crawford said.

She says she was told to contact a different person by email who would then arrange an audition, but there was a catch.

"She said a fee for $150, and my daughter was like, 'Mom, I don't think so.' But I said, 'Maybe,'" said Kirkland-Crawford

Despite a sense of unease, she says she sent $150 by Western Union to the audition contact.

"So I just get on Facebook and I am noticing that the whole Facebook page is gone, it is deleted," Kirkland-Crawford said.

And, she says, so is her $150. Tyler Perry's representatives tell us the star never charges for auditions. Perry has an official Facebook page, but there are others.

It turns out over the last few years, Perry has been used as the hook for numerous audition scams. It's happened so often that Perry himself has sent warnings to fans telling them not to pay for auditions. It's advice the Houston Better Business Bureau echoes for any audition.

"An audition is really a job interview, and you would not pay money for a job interview, so why would you do so for an audition," said Monica Russo of the Houston BBB.

Perry's representatives told us no legitimate agency charges for auditions, and again, Perry certainly does not. Another red flag in all this is that the audition had to be paid for by Western Union. If you can't pay for something by credit card or check, think twice.


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