The owner of a casting agency in Table View has been accused of withholding payment to extras in a movie shot in Cape Town last year.
During the investigation it also came to light that the owner, Timothy Roach, could be listed as a “sexual predator” on the Illinois Sex Offender Registration for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
The website states that a Timothy Roach was 27 at the time of the offence and the victim was 14-years-old.
It also indicates that he is “out of state” at the moment.
Table View’s Roach apparently graduated from law school at Everest University a few years ago and moved to South Africa.
Now numerous actors and actresses who prefer to stay anonymous out of fear of Roach’s alleged threats, are waiting for payment for work done on a movie starring Sasha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong and Penelope Cruz.
Roach cannot be reached by them, and if he contacts them it is apparently from a private number.
The casting agency, Dream Castings, has also moved away from its Blaauwberg Road premises.
Last week TygerBurger sent an urgent enquiry containing allegations of non-payment to the casting agency’s email address. A short while later Roach contacted the newspaper from a private number.
“If any of these allegations of non-payment are printed then I will take your newspaper to the highest court,” was Roach’s opening gambit. He went on to say every payment withheld was done so because the extras were either tardy or poached items off the set.
It was discussed that this newspaper’s questions be sent to the casting agency’s email, which would then be answered over the weekend and sent back on Monday.
Besides the non-payment allegations, Roach was also asked in the email about his apparent status as a “sexual predator” and whether someone with a similar chequered past could run an agency catering for children and adults.
At the time of going to print on Tuesday, Roach had not replied, despite a follow-up email.
The agency’s contact number also doesn’t work.
One actress states: “Yes, he has accused me of poaching, but I never did! It’s hear-say.”
Another complainant said she was ever-so-slightly late once, but that does not mean Roach could withhold payment.
Not everyone who is awaiting payment can be linked to tardiness or poaching off-set, however.
“I’ve been waiting since September… He kept promising he will pay, but lately he just hasn’t answered his calls or emails. He told me I must wait three months for payment, but still nothing. I was always on time and never poached anything. He never even mentioned this!”
When asked about Roach’s possible past, she answered: “Yes, I have heard about that. Since I found out I avoided going alone into the studio to ‘take pictures for my portfolio’. Just to be safe.”
Another complainant is desperately looking for Roach’s address so a summons can be delivered to him.
She wants to take him to court for non-payment.
Facebook has been rife with allegations of non-payment, and one of the complainants sent screen shots of these pages to the newspaper.
One comment reads: “I phoned Africa Film Productions who said Dream Castings was paid a long time ago.”
One post warns about the owner being a scam artist and numerous people have complained about Roach.
Alleged defaulter Timothy Roach is being protected by the law.
Last week TygerBurger published an article entitled “‘Sex pest’ fails to pay”, in which allegations of non-payment were made against the owner of Dream Castings, a casting agency in Table View.
It was also revealed in the article that a Timothy Roach is listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registration as a “sexual predator” for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Since the article appeared, more people have come forward claiming non-payment for work done on various movie sets.
In one of the emails an anonymous victim says Roach owes her more than R5 000.
“I’m really furious about it! Something has to be done about this, I mean it’s not only me that’s been scammed by him. It would seem that he’s done this injustice to a huge amount of unsuspecting people,” she states.
Wits’ endAnother person is looking to deliver a summons to Roach to take him to the small claims court.
Most, however, are at their wits’ end and do not know what to do to get him to pay their hard-earned money.
After seeking legal advice from an attorney at Malherbe Tubb Faure Inc, TygerBurger can shed some light on the matter.
According to attorney Jurgens Tubb there are three routes for claimants to follow.
“First prize would be to seek a criminal case. This would mean the state pays all the legal fees. Then you could also consider opening a civil case, but that would mean you have to pay the legal fees, which if it goes to court, could cost you thousands of rands. Finally, you could also go to the small claims court, but then you and the defendant would have to argue your cases,” Tubb sums up.
If all the claimants meet and decide to follow the criminal route, they will have to go to Table View police station and open a docket.
“If the case goes to court the state will have to prove the man is a fraudster and has the intent to steal your money. Did he hire the people with the intent to swindle them? Intent is very hard to prove for the state, and must be done so without reasonable doubt,” he continues.
If the claimants decide to follow the civil route, then it is best they all go to one attorney and pursue a class action.
“Let’s say the man never had the intent to swindle you, but ended up not paying anyway. In a civil case the burden of proof is less than in a criminal case, so the attorney must do so according to the balance of probabilities,” says Tubb.
The third avenue is that of the small claims court, where one claimant argues non-payment, and Roach would argue his case.
It is generally accepted that Roach has a legal background and working knowledge of the law, as, if he is the same mans as the Illinois sex offender, he apparently studied law at an American institute.
SummonsAs for the summons which must be delivered to Roach, Tubb says this should be delivered to the address as it appears on the contract.
Once delivered to this address, Roach will be forced to go to court, and if he doesn’t show up then he will not be present to defend himself, and according to Tubb, will in all probability lose the case.
But, “you can’t squeeze blood out of a stone”, warns Tubb.
“Which means if Roach doesn’t have the money, and his assets are in an ‘empty shell’ such as Dream Castings’ name, then he simply won’t be able to pay. There is no guarantee that he would be able to pay, so following the civil route might be catastrophically expensive. Small claims court can also not force someone to pay if they don’t have the money.”
If Roach has “eloped”, then a tracer must be hired by the claimants, who will try to find Roach, wherever he is.
When Tubb was asked to give advice on the limited information he has, as to whether the claimants should follow a criminal case, he said: “No, I do not think the evidence shows intent beyond a reasonable doubt.”
This is despite Roach having allegedly defaulted on numerous occasions, even after being paid the money by the production company.
A business partner of Dream Castings’ founder Timothy Roach, has come forward to give his account of working with the suspected defaulter.
Dzenis Medunjanin contacted TygerBurger after the recent articles in which various claims of non-payment were made against Roach.
“Timothy Roach, has been scamming everyone he came across,” says Medunjanin.
“I’m not a psychologist, but I have a great interest in behavioural psychology, and I am convinced he is a pathological liar. His fantasy inevitably becomes his reality.”
Medunjanin is apparently also one of Roach’s victims.
Verbal agreementEquipment belonging to him and Roach were stolen out of his vehicle last year. The two opened a police case in the name of Dream Castings and then Roach approached an insurance company.
Medunjanin says him and Roach had a verbal agreement that any money paid back would be split 50/50, but of the R70 000 claimed, Medunjanin saw nothing at all.
“I don’t know why I didn’t have a written contract with Timothy. His previous partner warned me about Timothy. He said Timothy will end up owing me money. I should have listened to him, so I owe him an apology,” continues Medunjanin.
Medunjanin, who is an actor and dancer, went into business with Roach last year.
He said Roach needed him for his social skills and contacts in the movie industry.
He was to connect actors with the Table View casting agency and Roach would get them “parts” in movies.
Medunjanin first suspected Roach “isn’t all he claims to be” when he discovered Dream Castings was more of a “background” agency, as opposed to a casting agency.
“A background agency gets you parts as an extra in movies, while a casting agency gets you proper roles.”
When he started working with Roach, he was concerned with the number of people who were claiming Dream Castings owed them money.
Roach’s explanation was they were not paid because they were late on set or stole items off set.
“He used to have a host of unfair deductions for actors and actresses as well.”
He says he convinced Roach to pay some of the money owed, which he is now convinced Roach did to lure him into the business partnership.
Then the incident with the theft happened.
Medunjanin now says Roach owes him R35 000.
“Some of the stolen items included a camera, a microphone and a laptop. Timothy claimed three laptops from the insurance, but there was only ever one laptop in the car. He later told me the insurance paid out only his half of the claim. How does that make logical sense?”
Phone number changed“Recently people have phoned me asking for the money Dream Castings owe them, but I can only try to put them in touch with Timothy, something not even I can manage these days. He has changed his phone number five times in the last six months.”
TygerBurger has spoken to various people who claim Roach owes them money, and also to an attorney who had some legal advice for those who believe they were wronged by him.
Up until the time of going to press for this week’s newspaper, TygerBurger has only once been able to get hold of Roach.
At the time he said everyone who was waiting for payment was either late arriving on set or filched items off set.
Medunjanin says it is impossible to keep track of every single extra on a movie set and whether they were late or stole something.
Some of the people Roach allegedly owes money to swear high and dry they were never late and never stole anything.