15 schools caught up in formals cash scam
Published: November 16, 2011 – 12:08PM
Party entrepreneur Sameer Kapoor has left hundreds of school leavers in the lurch after they paid thousands of dollars for school formals that have been cancelled after his company collapsed.
But even as DJ Sammy Em he has been letting the punters down for years, a fellow DJ said.
“To be honest with you, his DJ-ing left a lot to be desired but that says nothing about how much his business acumen left to be desired,” said Smokin Joe Mekhael, who was booked for several of the cancelled formals but is now offering his services for free.
Mr Kapoor is being sought by NSW Police and the Fair Trading Department over the collapse of his companies which owe a six-figure sum.
Mekhael says Mr Kapoor also owes him money.
“For months he would lie and say ‘I’m going to put it in your account tomorrow.’
“Then you would hear from him weeks later and he’d come up with some ridiculous excuse and try and weasel his way out of it.”
Investigators are assuming Mr Kapoor is still in the country, although Mekhael said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in Mexico right now.”
Students from at least 15 schools, including PLC Croydon, Danebank, Monte Sant’ Angelo, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College and Mosman High School, appear to have lost money for formals and after-parties.
Sums of up to $20,000 had been collected in cash with the companies Yourformal and Yourafterparty using students as representatives and offering them a payment if the school chose to use the company for their event.
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The two people sought are Mr Kapoor, 26, and Amrita Kerr, 32.
Don Jones, the assistant commissioner for compliance and enforcement with Fair Trading, said it was a classic scam.
”These people have designed the scam to keep themselves away from the paper trail and put other people in front of it.
”The way this worked was you would pay money through a website so you wouldn’t get a standard contract: you just basically put your money in a hole in the wall and hope something comes out the other side.
”They’re only kids and you can’t hold them to a high standard of being aware. But it’s a sad lesson some of them are going to learn.”
Chloe De Ville, one of the organisers of the Mosman High year 12 formal that the company did not provide after accepting more than $18,000, said the company had taken advantage of vulnerable students.
”Their whole pitch is to have formals organised for young people by young people, that students can have their perfect formal without dealing with the school or their parents,” she said.
”I completely feel it was my responsibility because we were the ones who organised it but I would just like to see the whole company out of business because I don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through.”
Ms De Ville’s advice was succinct: “I would tell him to stay hidden because once someone finds him he’s in for a lot of trouble.”