The Wu-Tang Clan’s iconic “W” is probably one of the most recognizable logos in Hip-Hop.
However, because of the large number of core members and ancillary acts connected to the mostly-Staten Island collective, a lot of people don’t know who all are in the group.
Which is how a 29-year-old Florida man and his friend were able to swindle over a quarter-million dollars in services from 19 businesses in 2019 by pretending to be a member of the group’s management team and Roc Nation agency.
One staffer from a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, GA, who happened to be a fan, alerted the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office — presumably thinking “Nah these dudes ain’t wit’ no Wu-Tang.”
According to prosecutors, the staffer was correct in calling authorities.
Apparently, the duo used “fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent limousines, defraud hotels, caterers and production studios in multiple cities as early as September 2019.”
Acting U.S. Attorney David Estes noted in the release, “For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue … Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.”
The millennial’s name was Aaron Barnes-Burpo and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He has to pay $300,000 back to the businesses (hotels, studios, and car rentals) and will serve seven years in federal prison (coupled with three years supervised release after his prison term).
His friend Walker Washington, 52, has not been sentenced but is too old to be in this situation with a man that could be his child.