Walker Washington, 53, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced Thursday to 100 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia said in a news release. Washington was also ordered to pay nearly $300,000 to 19 businesses defrauded in the scheme and must serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison term.
Washington’s co-defendant, Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 29, of Crestview, Florida, was previously sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to the same charge and also must pay $300,000 in restitution to the businesses.
“These two flim-flam artists and their phony entourage lived large for several weeks by scamming hospitality providers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes. “We commend the skeptical hotel clerk who saw through the scam and alerted law enforcement, bringing this scheme to a halt.”
According to court documents, Washington and Barnes-Burpo admitted that they falsely portrayed themselves as affiliated with Roc Nation and the Wu-Tang Clan as early as September 2019, and used those representations along with 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.
“These two scammers will have plenty of time to figure out if their few weeks of unearned fame was worth several years in prison,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “With this sentence, law enforcement and the victims of their scam, have spoken loudly that we won’t tolerate anyone who takes anything they do not earn or deserve.”