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Boy-Band Mogul Faces Florida Probe

Boy-band hitmaker Lou Pearlman is the target of a state probe into complaints that hundreds of aspiring models and actors were duped into paying up to $1,500 each for spots on his company’s Web site.

Clients say they were led to believe that Pearlman’s company, Trans Continental Talent Inc., would help them find work – not just post their pictures online.

The investigation, which began in August, has turned up “hundreds of potential violations” but no one who actually landed a job through the company, Assistant Attorney General Jackie Dowd said.

Pearlman, best known for launching the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, issued a statement Friday saying he was unaware of the investigation.

Florida law prohibits talent agencies from collecting fees upfront, but the promoter said Trans Continental was exempt because it is a “scouting” company that finds talent without marketing it.

The company’s Web site warns hopeful models that “chances of becoming a superstar in this industry are slim” and the company “will not book you directly.” But Trans Continental claims more than 1,000 agencies and clients are registered with it.

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