Published Jul 25, 2014A Washington musician has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding investors out of nearly $600,000 in non-existent compilations and charity concerts he said would feature the likes of Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M. and Pearl Jam.
In 2013, Vancouver, WA's Kasey Anderson had pleaded guilty to committing a series of wire fraud schemes between 2009 and 2011. As Billboard reports, this past Tuesday (July 22), U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton handed down his verdict in a Tacoma courtroom, where Anderson was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $594,636 in restitution.
"The offence is a serious one," Leighton told Anderson. "You let down a lot of people."
Anderson's schemes included talking up a fake compilation album and concert series that he had told investors would donate proceeds to the legal defence fund for the West Memphis Three, who were convicted of murder in 1994 but released in 2011 after a long-documented battle.
According to Anderson, he had said the various projects roped in Springsteen, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Tom Petty. To help secure funds, he created fake email accounts from music industry figures and sent messages to potential investors through these phony accounts. Anderson had also forged a document alleging that he'd already secured $1.7 million in advance sales.
Anderson also had investors back an album of his own music with his Kasey Anderson and the Honkies. Falsified documents were whipped up for the project, claiming he'd accrued $1.4 million in royalties. It was later revealed in court documents that the album had earned less than $10,000.
A letter penned by Anderson to the court [via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer] had the musician claiming that he was so deep into the project that he bought into the fraud and believed his own fabrications.
"I lied to myself and others, and believing those lies, I told myself consistently that whatever was going on with me … I could fix it on my own," he wrote, adding that he suffers from mental illness. "I convinced myself that it was normal."
Anderson apparently tricked around 30 investors in his scheme.