Man Posing as Wu-Tang Clan Member Receives Seven-Year Prison Sentence for Scamming Hotels Out of $300,000
A Florida man will be serving hard time after posing as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan to swindle several hotels out of more than $300,000.
According to a documents obtained by XXL, a 29-year-old man named Aaron Barnes-Burpo was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday (March 15) after pretending to be a member of the Staten Island, N.Y.-based rap crew and affiliated with Roc Nation to dupe hotels out of services for free. He has reportedly been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Southern District of Georgia's Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes applauded an employee at the hotel for a job well done. "For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue," Acting U.S. Attorney Estes said. "Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt."
In court documents and testimony, Barnes-Burpo alongside his co-defendant Walker Washington, confessed to "falsely portrayed themselves as affiliated with the Roc Nation production company and the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan as early as September 2019, and used those fictitious representations along with fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent luxury limousines and defraud hotels, caterers and production studios of thousands of dollars in goods and services in multiple cities, primarily in the Southeast."
The Georgian Terrace hotel and the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta said that the duo failed to pay bills of $45,000 and $39,000, respectively.
On Nov. 21, 2019, staff at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Ga. became skeptical of Barnes-Burpo and Washington, and this is when their scam began to dissolve. The hotel workers then notified the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to Barnes-Burpo serving seven years behind bars, he must also repay almost $300,000 to 19 businesses that were victims of his defrauding scheme and serve three years of supervised release.
Washington, 52, on the other hand, is awaiting sentencing. He was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well.
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