As the saying goes, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. However, it seems two men might’ve taken the aspirational saying too far after posturing as members from one of hip-hop’s most iconic groups to fraud the Atlanta hotel system.
Authorities say a group of men driving around in a Rolls-Royces collectively swindled Atlanta hotels out of more than $100,000 by posing as famous rappers.
According to Atlanta news outlet WSBTV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Atlanta revealed that two men, Aaron Barnes-Burpo and Walker Washington, were the ringleaders. At one point, they claimed that they were members of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and that they were being managed by Roc Nation. Barnes-Burpo and Walker’s scheme fell apart when they tried to check in at a Fairfield Inn and Suites located in Augusta, Georgia where they attempted to book 10 rooms for themselves.
Suspecting a ruse, the hotel sales director immediately called up Roc Nation directly to verify their patronage and the entertainment label denied any association to the men, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When Barnes-Burpo and Walker showed up at the hotel with their entourage to check-in, the authorities were waiting for them, the site reports. Additionally, two men claiming that they were recruited as bodyguards were taken in police custody along with Barnes-Burpo and Walker.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the two men have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft. Credit cards reportedly used in the scam included one that was stolen and another that was likely fake, the complaint states. The rest of the men who were traveling with them were let go and not charged.
Before they were caught, Barnes-Burpo and Walker had managed to run up tabs at two other hotels totaling up at $45,000 and $39,000. The complaint also stated that they drove around in a rented Rolls Royce Phantom and booked studio time, tallying up to $60,000 and $17,000, respectively, in additional expenses.
Alexa, play Wu-Tang Clan’s “Shame On A _____.”
(Photo: Bob Berg/Getty Images)