RZA famously spouted that “the Wu is the way.” Unfortunately for a Florida man, using Wu-Tang’s name in a scam is his way to prison.
On Monday (March 15), 29-year-old Aaron Barnes-Burpo was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud.
According to acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes, Barnes-Burpo and co-conspirator Walker Washington, 52, who is awaiting sentencing, ran their scam for weeks.
The pair’s scheme was up on November 21, 2019 when their deception alerted hotel staff at a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Georgia.
Barnes-Burpo claimed he was with Roc Nation when he tried to book 10 rooms and have a $2,500 credit applied to a king suite for an artist and his entourage. According to the Washington Post, a complaint reveals he would provide a credit card number for authorization as long as they didn’t charge it. He told staffers, rather, that he was planning to pay with a certified check once his stay was over.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Barnes-Burpo has been ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to 19 different businesses. He and his accomplice reportedly told the businesses he was associated with both the Staten Island rap collective and Jay-Z’s record label.
“For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue,” said Attorney Estes. “Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.” Barnes-Burpo will also serve three years supervised release after his time in prison. Washington has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In addition to booking hotel rooms, Barnes-Burpo and Washington admitted to using fraudulent or stolen credit cards to rent limousines and also defraud caterers and production studios in multiple cities.
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