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Thursday, October 21, 2010

So I invested in a couple albums... Securities Fraud Fail!

So some may know that I love listening to music. A couple years back a good friend of mine approached me with an opportunity to invest in an album of previously unreleased works by Jimmy Hendrix ( I was told that it was a collection of spoken word pieces that had been unreleased to the public and that the release of this material would mean tremendous sales, and depending on my investment I could make up to a dollar per album sold. They planned to release just before the Christmas shopping season through direct marketing and brick-and-mortar record stores, (hadn't caught on to the ITunes store as a sales channel yet, it seems). Nevertheless I bit. I opted for the lesser amount providing a return of half a "point" per album (fifty cents), signed the investment agreement (promising quarterly sales reports to me), wrote a fat check to Mr. Marino DeSilva (, and anxiously awaited the album release and sales reports. Well the album dropped on time and we got a few copies of the album. It turns out it was not original works of Jimmy Hendrix but a collection of some poorly recorded interviews by a swedish writer with Jimmy Hendrix. I listened to it once and felt pretty burned. I then started making requests for the sales reports to indicate if anyone else would be buying the album. These sales reports never materialized but before too long I was approached again by my good friend describing a new opportunity that was much better than the previous. This was for a Rolling Stones compilation including unreleased works and collaborations with Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis, among others... ( duped again, No sales reports no sales, and the CD copies that were begrudgingly shared were packaged in a DVD type case instead of a CD jewel case. I don't buy CDs in DVD cases, that's stupid. I doubt anyone else does either. 
Nevertheless I ignored my instincts that this was a crap operation and considered YET ANOTHER offer by my good friend. This was for the release of some previously unreleased BEATLES works. The release of this album would also be in conjunction with a new movie based on John Lennon's life and was currently in production with VH1 films; this release would also be through mainstream channels including the Itunes store. This one seemed much much better than the previous but had a higher price per point. I bit again, cashed in my meager retirement savings and signed it over, once again, to Mr. Marino DeSilva. I received a few status updates through my friend of this and other ventures that he and Mr. Marino were becoming involved in. Ventures like a new Las Vegas night club, potential investors in Dubai, etc. Much like any sales reports, these ventures never materialized either and my friend is no longer working with Marino DeSilva.

Today I received a blind-forwarded message from my (still) good friend including a message from another party describing something that's going on. Unfortunately the message was dated more than a month prior to the current date. Thanks friend...

~Message Excerpt~
You really need to speak to John Arana at the Nevada AG's office. His info is below. Just give him a call to set a time, it'll take about all of 15 min. He wants as many people as possible to have made statements against Marino, so get this to Jan as well.
I found out that they will get a felony conviction for up to 20 yrs. and that would be contingent upon the most amount of complaints. We are also in line for any assets he may have.
This guy even went to his house! He also said he's done time before, filed for bankruptcy and other arrests. Don't wait just give him a call.
~End Excerpt~

So I called and left my number and let them know it was regarding an investigation into Mr. Marino DeSilva's investment practices. I also asked my good friend (yet still), if he had any information or perspective, I asked what's going on. I think he feels guilty for pulling me into this scam that he was helping to pro-generate. Oh well, he certainly helped sell me quite a bill of goods and didn't have my back much when the shit came apart. I'm interested to know what he has to say, if anything.

Then I did a little more searching and I found a blog by Michael Gray describing the problems he's had with a similar album release. In this case it was a boxed set of works by an early blues musician named Blind Willie McTell. His blog can be found here:

To give some perspective, Larry Cohn is a well known promoter and production mogul that has a fairly illustrious background and parted ways with Marino a couple years back. The Beatles material was supposedly acquired during that separation.

This is an excerpt from some correspondence posted there on Michael Gray's Blog ( :

Date: 28 July 2008 18:06:39 BST

Subject:Blind Willie McTell Boxed Set.
To All:

I'm not sure as exactly how to begin this, so I'll just say that I am sorry beyond words as to what has happened regarding the Blind
Willie McTell project and I accept complete, unconditional blame. By way of explaination:

{Some of you may be aware of the following and if so, I ask that you bear with me while I review the situation.}

13 Months ago we discovered quite by accident that the German company that was financing
CohnDeSilva, had been duped by my former partner Marino DeSilva into sending $500,000 that was to be for the McTell project, into an account that he maintained under another name and which had absolutely nothing to do with Larry Cohn, CohnDeSilva or the Blind Willie McTell Boxed set project. [There's a further amount of $128,000 involved; I'll spare everyone details.]

For the last 13 months since this was uncovered, I've been faced with huge legal bills in order to
dissolve CohnDeSilva and in this regard, the State of California has many, many requirements, and gives the advantage to the person against whom the action is being brought. The cost to me both financially and emotionally has been unbelievable. Further, after 2 years of trying to obtain the McTell Subscribers list from my former partner, I only received
it last week and this as a result of a Court Order. All of the funds received from Subscribers went to
my former partner who to this day unbelievably refuses to account for the monies and further, refuses
to restore the funds {to me} for distribution back to everyone. So to the point: the obligation is now mine. We are in process of speaking to various people about
the prospect of new financing and that being said, I ask that you all bear with me and accept my promise that no one will lose their money; either the Box will be completed and all subscribers will receive same or if I see that it is not going to happen, I will refund everyone's money out of my own pocket. At the moment, I am still paying legal bills and require some much needed time.

I can not even begin relate to everyone my sorrow and shame and the fact that I trusted someone has caused me unspeakable grief. Those of you who know me, well I don't think that I have to make a case for my character & honesty.
Those of you who don't know me personally or who have never dealt with me, please contact those who know me for a fair evaluation of my efforts and my dealings with people over the years. I shall keep everyone informed every step of the way, from this point forward, and thank everyone for taking the time to read this angst-ridden EMail.
Sincerely to all,
Larry Cohn

Mr. Gray also goes on to include his opinion of Mr. Cohn. I have included this only for amusement as I agree that in my personal experience these music big shots all appear to be douche bags.

Mr. Gray:
Which is all very well, except that (a) from July until November is an awfully long time for Mr. Cohn to have the subscribers list back in his possession and still not have contacted everyone on it to give them all this information, and a further update, individually; and (b) speaking as a person who has had some experience of dealing with Mr. Cohn personally, I think a fair evaluation would be that he's belligerent, ego-centric, touchy, ill-tempered and impetuous. But that's just my opinion.

Al Bowman, LA Music Awards Founder, Larry Cohn, Sony VP and Marino De Silva of Angels on Earth Foundation at the Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey, CA

So that's the latest of my ill-fated music investment venture. I'll post updates here as they develop. I'm so glad that I didn't push the friends I told to invest in this scam; I don't think I could have forgiven myself easily. I'm going to work on forgiving myself for throwing so much good money after bad. Marino DeSilva is a crook and I'm not all that impressed with his production capabilities or supposed talents. But that, is also my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I am interested in your updates on this story. I have had a similar experience. did you ever talk with the AG? How did that go?

Phil said...

Marino De Silva, real name Marino Roberts is a crook! Always has been, always will be.
BTW he is illegally in America! All his charities are bogus.

Alan said...

I just ran across this post and boy does it hit home. I too was duped by Marino and Janet on the Stoned Again CD. I was able to receive a couple very small royalty payments after a lot of attempts through his administrative assistant, "Candee" but currently they are past due over a year again and will not respond. I am willing to contact the Nevada AG because at this point I would love to see them both paying for their crimes. Please update this post with any new info that you have. If nothing else we all need to make an attempt to tell the net what Marino de Silva is all about so he does not harm anyone else.

Phil said...

Larry Cohn has a long list of people who lost serious money to Marino. He had to flee LA in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Great news!!! Marino DeSilva is now in custody with the LA COunty Sheriffs Dept. Checkout the latest post here for more details! =)

Anonymous said...

Can anybody give the info for the AG in Nevada? My family, myself, and numerous other investors in Los
Angeles gave Marino hundreds of thousands of dollars for his charity foundations, as well as solo ventures he was working on years and years ago. Unless the case has already been turned over to the AG of California, is there anything people can do here?

Anonymous said...

Marino was my friend when we where kids he fleeced me for $38000 hope he rots in prison i will give all me support to the Police

Anonymous said...

What about, Marino's management for the last several years? Eggleston aka. The Eggman. He most have been involved to some degree or had some understanding of what was going on.Any thoughts on this or info?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone give me any information on who to contact either in Vegas or in California. He ripped my grandmother off too, but heres the big shocker she is Janets own MOTHER! I havent spoken to those two pigs in years, I just found this our yesterday that he was arrested as my brother mentioned that she was sailing on the Queen Mary 2 heading to England!! If they are looking for her she docks I think in Southhampton on Friday! Ineed to let the authorities know - they both need to pay!

Anonymous said...

Marino was sentenced to 15 years in Nevada. The Nevada Attorney General has closed further complaints (they numbered in the thousands). I would recommend getting in touch with the Nevada AG office to register the compliant for possible civil class action suit reparations, but honestly, the chances of anything coming from that is slim to nil due to the sheer volume of complaints and dollars swindled.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Janet's in London aocording to her Facebook page. Anyone know how to calculate HIS release date? I have heard various sentences from 3 to 5 and 8-15 years?