Wu Tang Clan luxury hotel scammer sentenced to 7 years in federal prison
Gary Leff at 16. March 2021.
A group of identity thieves posed as the Wu-Tang Clan to defraud hotels of more than $100,000. They cheated Rolls-Royce too.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, they booked Roc Nation and listed themselves with the Wu-Tang Clan. They obtained, among other things:
- Georgian Terrace Hotel: $45,000
- Hyatt Regency Atlanta: $39,000
- A-National Limousine: $60,000 (per roll).
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Credit: Hyatt
However, they were caught at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Augusta, Georgia, of all places. They booked 10 rooms, but the hotel staff was skeptical that the Wu-Tang Clan would be staying there, so they called Roc Nation, who knew nothing about the booking. When the perpetrators tried to overpower them, they were arrested by the police.
Walker Washington and Aaron Barnes-Burpo are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and identity theft with aggravating circumstances. The complaint states that one of the credit cards used in the scam was stolen and the other was most likely fake.
…Two other members of the group told deputies they were homeless men from Atlanta who had been recruited by the suspects as bodyguards.
Hip-hop groups need an entourage, whether they’re staying in a luxury hotel or a Fairfield Inn. And your employees are unlikely to pay with counterfeit credit cards. So if you have money, of course you hire homeless people.
The leader of this criminal clan will serve a seven-year sentence. His accomplice is awaiting sentencing.
A Florida man has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison after admitting to participating in a hospitality theft scheme by posing as a member of a well-known rap group.
Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 29, of Crestview, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen to 84 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Barnes also had to pay nearly $300,000 to 19 companies that were defrauded in the scam and had to remain under supervision for three years after his prison sentence ended. There is no parole in the federal system.
By the way, another version of this plan is to protect your identity by paying high bills at your vacation destination without checking in and then climbing out the hotel window to avoid paying the bill.
If you like to party like the Wu Tang Clan at the Fairfield Inn and end up getting caught, learn how to commit credit card fraud here.
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