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Former concert promoter Jack Utsick dies aged 80

Utsick founded Worldwide Entertainment in the 1990s but was jailed in 2016 for running the business as a $200 million fraud scheme

By James Hanley on 16 Jun 2023

Jack Utsick, CNBC Prime

Jack Utsick

image © CNBC Prime

Former concert promoter Jack Utsick has died of cancer at the age of 80.

Utsick, who was an airline pilot before entering live music, founded Worldwide Entertainment in the 1990s and went on to promote tours around the globe by superstars such as the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Britney Spears, the Bee Gees, the Pretenders, Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac.

Pollstar notes he also acquired interests in venues including Germany’s Wuhlheide Amphitheatre and New Zealand’s Vector Arena.

However, Worldwide was placed into administration amid mounting debts in 2006, and Utsick was subsequently accused of operating the Miami-headquartered business as a $200 million Ponzi scheme.

“I went through almost 12 years of crying every night for these poor people”

Utsick was alleged to have defrauded more than 3,300 investors, having promised them fixed rates of return ranging from 15% to 25% and, in some instances, an additional percentage of profits. Prosecutors said that when most of the entertainment projects lost money, he paid earlier investors with funds raised from new investors.

In 2014, Utsick was extradited to the US from Brazil, where he fled in 2007 after being charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), following a protracted court battle, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2016 after admitting fraud. He was also ordered to repay US$169m to Worldwide’s investors.

“I went through almost 12 years of crying every night for these poor people,” he told ABC from his prison cell in 2019. “I said I’m sorry and I said I’m sorry to some of the people who got screwed.”

A family friend tells CelebrityAccess that Utsick died in Florida after being released from prison during the Covid-19 pandemic.


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