Defendants accused of faking association with famed musical group
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Augusta charges two men with using fraudulent and stolen credit cards to steal from hotels and a limousine company.
Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 28, of Crestview, Fla., and Walker Washington, 51, who is listed as homeless, are charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
“Thanks to alert citizens in Augusta who acted on their suspicions, this crime spree across the country came to an abrupt halt in the Southern District of Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Christine.
The complaint alleges that Barnes-Burpo and Washington organized a group of men and women who portrayed themselves as affiliated with the Roc Nation production company and the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, and used those fictitious representations along with fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent luxury limousines, including a Rolls-Royce, and defraud hotels of thousands of dollars in goods and services in cities including Atlanta, Macon and Nashville.
The scam unraveled when staff at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta became suspicious and alerted authorities.
“The FBI would like to thank the staff of the Fairfield Inn in Augusta for their awareness that helped end the run of these alleged fraudsters,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The arrests should serve as a warning that no matter how elaborate fraud schemes are, the FBI is determined to protect American citizens who fall victim to them.”
A criminal complaint contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Rhodes.