SMEs warned about “smooth talking” DJ conman

Small businesses around the country are being warned about doing businesses with a former radio DJ whose actions have reportedly short-changed individuals and businesses thousands of dollars.

Fairfax reports Dene Broadbelt, who also goes by the name Harry O’Connor, has racked up more than $120,000 in debts over the past 18 months by entering into arrangements for goods and services but then skipping out on paying the bill.

At various times Broadbelt has reportedly told vendors he was filming a charity cancer walk for Channel Seven, or was promoting a national touring musical festival. At other times he apparently recruited 11 unassuming DJs for his talent company, and told others he was the manager for Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes.

According to Fairfax, one audio visual company is out of pocket more than $25,000 after Broadbelt convinced it to freight $150,000 worth of equipment to Alice Springs so his business, Coleman Studios, could film a fundraising walk.

Broadbelt reportedly sold tickets to a music festival, called Infinity Music Festival, which was never held, and left his previous employment at Eagle FM radio station in April 2013 after ordering $18,500 of equipment for another festival. 

But it appears his stories were just that: stories. And some of the people who fell for the tall tales are taking to Facebook to warn others.

One such person is Noel Sadler, owner of Skip Film Productions, who was left with an unpaid invoice for $2500 after he spent two days with Broadbelt, filming a television commercial for Broadbelt’s photography operation, Aquaholic Photography, in Bathurst, NSW, in September last year.

While Sadler told SmartCompany he did receive a deposit from Broadbelt before the filming took place, Broadbelt refused to pay the final bill, at first blaming the bank for Sadler not receiving the money, and then attempting to take Sadler to a tribunal after he said he was not happy with the commercial.

But it wasn’t just Sadler who was left short-changed by the incident, with the local motel out of pocket around $3000 for Broadbelt’s stay, as well as hundreds of dollars in catering bills.

Sadler doesn’t expect to see any money from Broadbelt, who he says “had no assets to start with”.

Sadler says Broadbelt filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. But the outcome of the bankruptcy is unclear, with creditors like Sadler receiving a letter last month informing them the bankruptcy action had been cancelled after liquidators were not able to contact Broadbelt.

Sadler says he is aware of up to five names used by Broadbelt, including Harry O’Connor. According to Fairfax, Broadbelt has at various times used the names Dean Mussillon, Nic Lloyd and Clay O’Connor.

Sadler says the mistake he made was not doing enough research before agreeing to work with Broadbelt.

“The one mistake I made when I received his phone call, was that I just Googled his business name,” says Sadler. “I didn’t know it was a fake business name and there were no red flags.”

“I should have been smart enough to Google his actual name, and ask a few more questions, or take his money upfront,” he says.

Sadler says if he had taken a larger deposit, it would have at least gone some way to pay the wages of his staff.

“As a one man band, I employ people as I need them,” he says. “So I had to pay five crew members’ wages and it left me way out of pocket.”

“I was quite a trusting person but I’m not as trusting in business now,” he says.

SmartCompany was unable to find contact details for Dene Broadbelt and the website and Facebook page for his most recent venture, Paramount Agency & Touring, appear to have been deleted.

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