Back in February of 2020, Digital Music News was first to report that Georgia police had arrested a pair of men for allegedly scamming several hotels and businesses by impersonating members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Now, a federal judge has sentenced one of these individuals, Aaron Barnes-Burpo, to seven years behind bars for his role in the brazen scheme.
Department of Justice (DOJ) officials recently announced Barnes-Burpo’s 84-month-long sentence in a formal release. The 29-year-old’s high-profile scam initiated in September of 2019, when he, along with 52-year-old Walker Washington, assembled a makeshift crew and impersonated members of the Wu-Tang Clan as well as Roc Nation execs.
As an aside, the individuals who accompanied Washington and Barnes-Burpo told law enforcement that they were homeless, besides stating that they had received payment to pose as bodyguards. Police then released them without filing charges.
But the crime’s chief architects, pretending to be members of the Wu-Tang Clan and Roc Nation, once again, enjoyed luxurious accommodations throughout Georgia by providing hotel professionals with fake identification information and paying with credit cards that didn’t belong to them – while also traveling in a stolen Rolls-Royce.
The daring criminals’ luck ran out some three months following the first leg of the scam, when a suspicious Augusta hotel manager called Roc Nation, learned that the lodgers were imposters, and proceeded to contact the authorities.
Police waited at the hotel until the responsible parties returned, and in the immediate aftermath of the scheme, the stolen Rolls-Royce’s owner (a limousine company) claimed to have suffered losses of $60,000, with Atlanta’s Georgian Terrace Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta citing $45,000 and $39,000 in financial fallout, respectively.
Plus, the bold crooks reportedly put record labels on the hook for a whopping $17,000 by booking and using several recording studios. In addition to the aforementioned seven-year-long prison sentence, Judge Dudley H. Bowen ordered Barnes-Burpo to pay “nearly $300,000” to 19 businesses that he defrauded. He must also complete three years of supervised release upon exiting prison, according to the DOJ.
Walker Washington joined Barnes-Burpo in pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but is still awaiting sentencing. In November of 2020, a federal judge sentenced Tekashi 6ix9ine’s kidnapper to 24 years behind bars and five years of supervised release thereafter. And last month, Bobby Shmurda – who appeared on 6ix9ine’s “Stoopid” – officially finished serving his six-year prison sentence.