AKA Louis Jay Pearlman
Birthplace: New York City
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute
Occupation: Business, Criminal
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Boy bands and Ponzi schemes
Flamboyant con-man Lou Pearlman first operated a small travel agency, then a helicopter shuttle service, then a blimp advertising company which lost its blimps one by one in well-insured accidents. Moving into the music business, he assembled his first pop group, the Backstreet Boys, in 1992, followed by subsequent hitmakers including *NSYNC, Aaron Carter, O-Town, and the German boy band US5. He operated dozens of sideline businesses, including a talent agency and recording studio, wrote a how-to book of business advice, and produced the abysmal motion picture Longshot, featuring Hunter Tylo, Paul Sorvino, and virtually everyone in the music industry who had ever worked with Pearlman or used his elaborate recording studio, from Kenny Rogers to Britney Spears to Pearlman's first cousin, Art Garfunkel.
To fund his several businesses, Pearlman structured an illegal investment scheme and diverted much of the day-to-day cash-flow to his own accounts. His criminal activities were reported in the alternative paper Orlando Weekly as early as 1999, but the state of Florida did not begin its investigations until 2005. In December 2006 he was forced to close an "employee investment saving program" alleged to have been a front company for his Ponzi investment schemes, and shortly thereafter he fled the US. He was arrested on 14 June 2007 in Indonesia, where he was registered in a four-star hotel under the name "A. Incognito Johnson."
On 21 May 2008, Pearlman was convicted of financial crimes approaching or exceeding $300M, though his record-keeping was so poor and his many companies so intertwined, an exact figure is difficult to estimate. The judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison, but included an incentive for Pearlman's cooperation in recovering the pilfered funds -- his prison time will be reduced by one month for every million dollars of restitution he makes, which means that if Pearlman can come up with $300M, he might avoid prison entirely. Additionally, several former members of his boy bands have claimed that they were pursued by Pearlman for inappropriate sexual relationships, though none of these allegations have resulted in prosecutions.
Father: Hyman Pearlman (dry cleaner)
Mother: Irene Nevler Pearlman ("Reenie", school lunch lady)
High School: Flushing High School, Flushing, NY
Backstreet Boys Manager
Making False Statements
Bank Fraud 27-Jun-2007 (indicted)
Risk Factors: Obesity
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Inside Monkey Zetterland (12-Sep-1992)
Author of books:
Bands, Brands and Billions: My Top 10 Rules for Making Any Business Go Platinum (2002)
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