CHICAGO (JGL) – If someone asks you to be a business partner, make sure the two of you will co-sign the check. If you don’t agree with the purpose of the check being issued, you don’t have to sign it.
Or better yet, investigate the credit of your prospective partner from her friends and inquire if he or she has some unencumbered assets you can hold on to in case things go wrong.
These were the lessons learned by Amy Cheboub (now Mrs. Amy Duplechin), who was convinced by Filipino American Angela C. Arevalo-Eads, a concert producer, into opening a joint bank account with her. This allowed her business partner to withdraw all of her $46,000 in the course of their relationship in only four months.
“Arevalo-Eads really got me to agree at the most vulnerable period of my life. I was still grieving with the death of my husband when she offered me to ‘co-produce’ a concert headlining Philippines’ Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez on May 2016 at Copernicus Center in Chicago’s north side,” Cheboub recalled.
Cheboub met with the media on Feb. 2 in the presence of three other victims. She showed them the order of Judge John C. Griffin of the County Circuit Chicago, Illinois directing Arevalo-Eads to pay more than $80,000 in damages including $25,000 in punitive damages for breach of contract and for violation of Deceptive Trade Practices Act of Illinois.
Cheboub was awarded $40,000 against Angela Arevalo-Eads and Diamonds Production, LLC for breach of an agreement of Jan. 8, 2016. She was also awarded $6,000 against Angela-Eads for breach of an agreement of May 13, 2016; $25,000 against Angela Arevalo-Eads and Diamonds Production, LLC for punitive damages for violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act’, $9,117.50 in attorney’s fees and $648.85 in court costs.
Cheboub recalled that on Dec. 28, 2015, Arevalo-Eads of Beach Park, Illinois, and owner of Diamonds Production, LLC approached her to invest $40,000 to co-produce a Regine Velaquez concert later that May. They agreed that each one of them would deposit $40,000 in a joint bank account to cover the production cost of $80,000.
On Jan. 7, 2016, Cheboub made a deposit of $40,000 into their account payable under the name of Diamonds Production, LLC at Chase Bank. However, when she noticed that it was only her who deposited the money, Arevalo-Eads told her not to worry.
According to their contract, if the concert turns a profit, they will share the net proceeds equally. In the event of a loss, Chenoub will get “less her half of the loss up to a maximum of $10,000 and $30,000 will be returned to her.”
To impress Cheboub, Arevalo-Eads invited her to a trip to the Philippines to introduce her to Velasquez. Cheboub took the trip at her own expense while Arevalo-Eads withdrew from their joint account to pay for her own traveling expenses.
On three occasions in January 2016, records indicate that Arevalo-Eads withdrew from the joint bank account a total of $25,797.18. When they flew together from Manila to Cebu to secure the talent of Regine Velasquez for their concert, Cheboub was neither introduced to Velasquez nor to her representative. Arevalo-Eads merely informed her that she already paid Velasquez’s concert fee from their joint account.
Then again on Jan. 21, 2016, Arevalo-Eads withdrew the entire remaining balance of $14,202.82, emptying their joint account.
Since Jan. 21, Cheboub never heard from her until May 13, 2016, on the day of the concert. Arevalo-Eads asked her for additional $6,000 to pay in full Velasquez who threatened to cancel the event. Cheboub relented after her partner promised to show her the books and other financial records of the production. But Arevalo-Eads reneged on her promise again.
Cheboub went to court and sued Arevalo-Eads with 10 counts of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, common law fraud, deceptive acts, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion.
She is also contemplating on taking her case to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because Arevalo-Eads failed to remit the 39 percent withholding tax of her payment to Velasquez.
Under the tax treaty between the Philippines and the United States, an entertainer or an athlete, who comes to the U.S. and earns more than $3,000 will have to remit nearly 39 percent withholding tax to Uncle Sam within less than two weeks of an event. They are also to hold a “P-3” visa, not “B-1” (Tourist) or “B-2” (Business) visa.
Besides this case, on Feb. 28, 2014, Arevalo-Eads also took $8,000 cash from Jimmy Alban, treasurer of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, which was supposed to be given to the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan). She could not produce a name of a single recipient.
At around the time that Arevalo-Eads had the $8,000 with her in Cebu, she reportedly bought a condominium unit there, a source, who refused to be identified, told this reporter.
Cheboub has contacted a lawyer in Cebu to verify Arevalo-Eads’ ownership of the condo unit.