AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A Florida man who claimed to work in the rap industry and to have ties to the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan in a scheme to scam hotel stays and luxury services was sentenced Monday to serve seven years in federal prison.
Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 29, of Crestview, Florida, was also ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution to 19 businesses and to serve three years supervised release after his prison term, according to online court records. He earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
A second man who also pleaded guilty in the scheme, 52-year-old Walker Washington of Augusta, Georgia, is awaiting sentencing.
Barnes-Burpo and Washington admitted that they falsely claimed to be affiliated with the Roc Nation production company and the Wu-Tang Clan and used fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent limousines, defraud hotels, caterers and production studios in multiple cities as early as September 2019, prosecutors said in a news release Monday.
Staff at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta became suspicious on Nov. 21, 2019, and notified the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, the release says.
“For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue,” Acting U.S. Attorney David Estes said in the release. “Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.”