Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Man sent to prison for faking ties to Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation

A Florida man is facing hard-knock time for pretending to be associated with famous hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company.

Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 29, of Crestview, Fla., was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Monday after his guilty plea for committing wire fraud, according to David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Barnes-Burpo and co-conspirator Walker Washington, 52, who is awaiting sentencing, ran their scam for several weeks, Estes said.

The swindlers’ triumph came to a halt Nov. 21, 2019, when their so-simple deception seemed off to hotel staff at a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Ga.

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Two Plead Guilty To Scam In Roc Nation, Wu-Tang Clan Case

Barnes-Burpo claimed to be with Roc Nation, an entertainment and management company founded by Jay-Z, 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 complaint. He would provide a credit card number for authorization as long as they didn’t charge it, he told staffers, because he was planning to pay with a certified check at the end of the stay.

Roc Nation emailed the hotel with a credit authorization form that showed the credit card was linked to a Kansas address and identified the guest as “Rocnation/WuTangClan,” according to court documents.

The hotel’s director of sales noticed the same group had tried to book rooms weeks before. She called a legal representative at Roc Nation, who confirmed that the entertainment agency had received several calls about the scam from four or five hotels.

After verifying that the card was stolen, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Escobar and other authorities traveled to the hotel to watch the suspects in action.

When Barnes-Burpo tried to check in the next day under the Roc Nation reservation, he and others were detained. Barnes-Burpo still claimed he was employed with Roc Nation and explained that he didn’t make the reservation. He simply used his cellphone to speak with representatives at Roc Nation who do the actual booking, he said, according to the federal complaint. He was arrested.

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