One of two Wu-Tang Clan imposters was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
A Florida man, who pleaded guilty last year of committing wire fraud while pretending to be a member of the Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company, has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron Barnes-Burpo of Crestview, Florida, received the sentence last Monday, March 15, according to David Estes, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. He will also have to pay nearly US$300,000 to 19 businesses he defrauded
His co-conspirator, 52-year-old Walker Washington, is still awaiting sentencing in the matter. Barnes-Burpo was caught after staff at a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Georgia, picked up on some discrepancies and notified the authorities. He claimed to be a representative of Roc Nation and tried to book 10 rooms. He also tried to have US$2,500 credit applied to a king suite supposedly for an artist and his entourage.
He also requested that the hotel staff not charge the credit card he gave as he wanted to pay using a certified cheque. He used an email address resembling Roc Nation to try and make his claim seem more legit. However, the hotel director of sales noticed that someone using the same address tried to book rooms weeks before. Following a call to a legal representative at Roc Nation, it was confirmed that it was a scam. A representative at Roc Nation also confirmed that at least four hotels had called with similar queries.
He was eventually caught red-handed by special agents at the same hotel. After a search of Barnes-Burpo’s vehicle, they found keys from hotels from across the country and a paper with credit card numbers written on it. According to Acting U.S. Attorney Estes: “For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue.”
Other reports indicate that the men walked out on two tabs worth $45,000 and $39,000 at Georgian Terrace Hotel and Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. Barnes-Burpo will also have to serve three years of supervised release after finishing his prison term.