#UPDATE | April 29, 2021 (WJBF) – An Augusta man has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to steal hospitality services by claiming to be part of a famed rap group.
53-year old Walker Washington was sentenced to 100 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
Washington also was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 to 19 businesses defrauded in the scheme, and must serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.
Co-defendant Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 29, of Crestview, Fla., previously was sentenced to 84 months in prison after also pleading guilty, and also must pay restitution to the businesses victimized in the scheme.
The scam unraveled Nov. 21, 2019, when staff at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta became suspicious and alerted the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Two men accused of defrauding hotel chains while claiming to be associated with hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan have admitted guilt in the scheme.
28-year-old Aaron Barnes-Burpo of Crestview, Florida and 51-year-old Walker Washington are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft.
Both pled guilty in U.S. District Court to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. The charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, followed by up to 5 years of supervised release.
“These men play-acted as bigshots so they could rip off hospitality providers for luxury treatment, but their scam fell apart thanks to an alert Augusta hotel clerk,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “It didn’t take Nick Cannon to figure out the defendants were lip-synching, and they’ll be disappointed to learn that their future accommodations in federal prison won’t be as swanky as those hotels.”
In court documents and testimony, Barnes-Burpo and Washington both admitted that they posed as being affiliated with the Roc Nation production company and the Wu-Tang Clan, and used fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent luxury limousines and defraud hotels in cities including Augusta, Atlanta and Florence, Alabama.
The Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta became suspicious of the two and alerted authorities to the scam.
MORE TOP STORIES:
- Locals participate in a friendly competition to keep the Savannah River clean
- Richmond County Sheriff’s Office sees second line of duty COVID death
- SC officer killed in line of duty; Florence County deputy injured in chase around same time
- Aiken High School principal assaulted by student; 16-year-old charged
- Football fans duke it out ahead of the big Border Bash game
- Football Friday Night | Week 5
- Once homeless himself, Greenville man launches non-profit to feed others
- Moderna vaccine is most effective against hospitalization from COVID-19, CDC study finds