As an indie musician, I was contacted by this individual in December of 2007 via email offering publicity services for a recent CD release of mine; he found me through my CDBaby account. Since I am normally not totally gullible, to suss him out I obtained his phone number and we had several delightful conversations; he seemed to be personable, knowledgeable, accessable, and connected, and very much "on my page" as far as what I was looking for for publicizing two recent releases, including placement of articles about us in several prominent publications. I had done radio "pushes" before, in 1998, using another service and had been happy with the results. He promised lists of stations that were playing my stuff and copies of radio station playlists (none of this ever happened).
In the course of our conversation, and claiming to have connections in the UK, Mr. Sutton furthermore offered to attempt to book a tour there for me, which, although we have toured Europe a number of times, was a goal of mine but I lacked the connections. Quite excited by these possibilities, I sent him a check for $1,000 for the two releases for a 1-month radio push and booking a UK tour, and 50—count 'em—50 CD's. After receiving and signing his signed contract detailing the terms of our agreement, I didn't hear back from him for a month; I was able to contact him by phone once thereafter and he had a number of excuses: he'd been sick, there was a huge snowstorm and they had had a power outage, none of his "staff" (non-existent as it turns out) was able to come in. He said he would of course extend the terms of the agreement by a month.
Another 2 months went by and... Nothing. No radio reports and no progress charts. By now I wasn't reaching him on the phone and he was not returning my phone calls. Some email replies: "hang on, because a flood of articles is coming... Oooh, can't wait 'til you read them!" and "been knee deep in arranging publicity for you." All bulllshit. Remember, this is months past the contract term. Finally one lone article appeared in an online entity called "Hellhound on my Trail" and one called "Twangtown"; glowing, gushing reviews. Subsequent research revealed that this is a WordPress site put up by Sutton and goes nowhere, means nothing; and he publishes under an assumed name ("Kyrby Raine").
Finally, in July, and with a sinking heart, and after blowing off gigs for the month of August so I'd be free to tour UK, I emailed him thus: "I'm sad to say that I'm starting to draw some rather bleak conclusions about the integrity of our arrangement... I feel very much like I have been scammed. Perhaps your conscience would prompt you to at least return the obviously un-sent copies of my Cd so that I might recoup some my losses due to this unfulfilled arrangement." His response was a completely indignant email with, again, a lot of bullshit excuses about his "staff" and other ridiculous and transparent reasons. After that, I never heard from him again.
I contacted the FBI and filed a report for mail fraud, and contacted the Tacoma police, but unfortunately since the dollar amount is relatively low (i.E. Not in the thousands, and I'm sure Sutton knows EXACTLY where the line is), it's difficult to prosecute across state lines. I subsequently had an incident of cancer that following fall and in dealing with that for the next few months, did not continue to pursue the issue, for what it would have been worth. I have read numerous posts from other musicians on cdbaby blogs, and in fact spoke with 3 of them on the phone trying to get some sort of class-action suit going, but it's difficult to motivate people, and some of these individuals actually seemed to be fearful of what Sutton might do to them, although I cannot imagine what.
In the end, I think we all concluded that we can either dwell in the past, or move ahead with our careers in a more positive manner, and in the end I'm certain that's what Sutton the Scammer is counting on too.
One final note, although it may or may not be related: Sutton told me at one point that his wife was from the Philippines, and that he himself had spent a fair amount of time there. A few months into the spring we were the victim of identity theft with someone using one of our credit cards to wire money to some unknown person in—you guess it—the Philippines. The police were never able to track this one down either, although I filed a report, and our money was refunded by the credit card company, but I will always wonder... Seems like quite a coincidence to me!
Bottom line: Don't even THINK of doing business with this guy. He's perfectly content to take advantage of an indie musician's optimism and trust. If there's a hell, I hope he roasts there. There's no excuse for what he did. He has a serious lack of conscience and, in the end, really wasn't all that creative with his excuses. But we all want to believe, don't we?