Florida resident Aaron Barnes-Burpo has been arrested after he allegedly scammed free hotel stays and other services by lying about his association with famous rappers.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the 28-year-old was ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to 19 different businesses, and will be serving seven years in federal prison for his crimes. Barnes-Burpo had reportedly told these businesses that he was associated with the Wu-Tang Clan, and on other occasions he claimed to work for Roc Nation. He and his 52-year-old associate Walker Washington had been up to this since at least September 2019, authorities confirmed.
“For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.” Barnes-Burpo, who had pleaded guilty prior to his sentencing, will serve three years supervised release after his time in prison. Washington has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but has yet to be sentenced.
The duo had allegedly used fraudulent and stolen credit cards to defraud hotels, caterers, production studios, and rent limousines. The staff at Augusta, Georgia’s Fairfield Inn became suspicious late November and alerted the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff’s office, authorities confirmed.