Lou Pearlman, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync Manager, Has Died
Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:20:50
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Lou Pearlman, the larger-than-life manager behind Nineties boy bands like Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, and O-Town died Friday night while serving a 25-year prison sentence stemming from a $300 million Ponzi scheme. He was 62.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator confirms that Louis Pearlman died in custody on August 19th, with sources also telling Billboard that Pearlman had died. No cause of death was provided.
'N Sync's Chris Kirkpatrick tweeted "Mixed emotions right now, but RIP Lou Pearlman," following news of Pearlman's death. Lance Bass added, "Word is that #LouPearlman has passed away. He might not have been a stand-up businessman, but I wouldn't be doing what I love today [without] his influence. RIP Lou."
After a failed aviation venture in the Eighties, Pearlman, shifted his enterprise to the music industry after becoming inspired by the New Kids on the Block's success. Pearlman founded Trans Continental Records and placed an ad in the Orlando area seeking young male singers. Following a multi-million dollar talent search, Pearlman created the Backstreet Boys, a quintet that would go on to become the best selling boy band in history.
Pearlman repeated his approach to creating a band, and in 1995 he formed 'N Sync, the group that launched the career of Justin Timberlake. Secure as an industry figurehead, Pearlman went on to manage similar groups like O-Town, LFO, and Take 5, along with the TV show Making the Band.
Over time, the majority of groups Pearlman managed sued him in Federal Court for fraud and misrepresentation. Claimants filed that Pearlman pocketed most of the money his groups made. The producer was also levelled by allegations of molestation made by a number of young singers, those accusations first appeared in a 2007 Vanity Fair profile.
As Pearlman's music empire failed, he was still courting partners to invest in his Trans Continental Airlines Travel Services Inc. and Trans Continental Airlines Inc., companies that existed only on paper. In 2007, Florida regulators revealed Pearlman's $300 million Ponzi scheme. Hoping to avoid arrest, Pearlman relocated to Bali, where he was captured.
He was indicted on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. His scheduled release was not until 2029.
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—The ARTISTdirect Staff