James Watson, Jr. Indicted Over Failed Texas Music Festival In Downtown Houston
The Texas Music Festival never rivaled Woodstock
The 2008 Texas Music Festival in downtown's Eleanor Tinsley Park was supposed to be the first of an annual event, but you might have noticed there haven't been any more.
Why not? Part of the answer might have come today, when a federal grand jury indicted promoter James Watson, Jr. for fraud in connection with the event.
Watson, 54, is currently in prison in California for a scam surrounding a jazz festival there, so we're not saying he sounds suspicious or anything, and far be it from us to connect any blazingly obvious dots.
The feds say Watson raised more than $2 million from investors for the Houston event.
"In connection with the scheme, Watson used investors to engage in a $400,000 check kite at Bank of America, fraudulently and without authorization using the credit card number of one investor to make a charge on the card in exchange for another investor who believed the card was Watson's, giving him cash," the U.S. Attorney's office said.
It's not only investors who might have got screwed -- "weather concerns" forced cancellation of at least part of the event. Los Lobos was one of the acts canceled.
Right before the 2008 event, Watson told a reporter, "This is going to be a festival with something for everyone."
Something for everyone -- except the investors, we guess.
Watson was indicted on charges of bank fraud and credit card fraud.
The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million. The maximum penalty for credit card fraud is 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.