Man claiming to be singer Kenny Chesney scammed woman on loan

VAN NUYS, CA – A woman is seeking more than $500,000 from a man and woman she claims scammed her into giving a loan in 2021 to a man she thought was singer Kenny Chesney, but who was rather someone else with the same name and who never paid her back.

The defendants in the Van Nuys Superior Court lawsuit filed Thursday by real estate agent Patricia Linson are Kenny Chesney — but not the artist — and Nayri Apelian, who Linson said had impressive business experience, making the complainant more confident that she would make the loan to the current country singer. Chesney told Linson that Apelian was his partner, according to the suit.

The allegations in the lawsuit include fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Linson seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Representatives for the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Linson was contacted in February 2021 via Linkedin by a man claiming to be Chesney, the lawsuit says. In subsequent conversations, the man convinced Linson to believe he was the real singer, that his accounts were temporarily frozen, and that if Linson advanced money to her, he would repay her with interest within six months, says the pursuit.

“What finally gave (Linson) the confidence to loan Chesney money was when he brought in defendant Nayri Apelian,” the lawsuit states.

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Linson’s subsequent research confirmed that Apelian was a real person who appeared on the defendant’s website and social media as “a very credible and reputable person,” according to the suit.

In April 2021, Linson agreed to loan Chesney $310,000 with all the money to be funneled through Apelian because the defendants said any funds sent to Chesney would be seized, the suit says.

Linson initially sent $90,000 and the rest in Bitcoin. She wanted to meet Chesney, so she flew to Tennessee after the two agreed on a location, the suit says. However, Chesney was a ‘no-show’ and while she was still at the airport he claimed his lawyer had just told him he couldn’t meet Linson as it would ‘put her in danger’, says the pursuit.

Linson grew concerned that she was being scammed and she hired a private detective to watch Apelian’s home, according to the suit. The investigator reported repeatedly seeing a man entering and leaving the Apelian home who appeared to be the real Chesney, the lawsuit says.

But when the loan matured in June, Chesney said he was unable to pay, the suit says.

“At that time, the plaintiff was satisfied that Chesney was a fraud,” according to the lawsuit.

Chesney and Apelian failed to return the money despite a formal notice from Linson’s attorney sent to Chesney, the suit says.

Linson is asking for $507,000, representing principal plus interest, penalties and nearly $57,000 in taxes she had to withdraw from her 401k account to make the loan, the suit says.

—City News Service

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Dorothy H. Lewis