Rockstar Defrauds Banks with False Personal Loan Applications
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UPDATED: Feb 8, 2021
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One rockstar will soon be singing the blues. Robert Brandon Mawhinney, the frontman of the rock band Lights Over Paris, has been charged with committing personal loan fraud.
According to an FBI press release, the 30 year-old musician who goes by the stage-name Robb “TaLLLLL” University, is alleged to have defrauded several banks out of millions of dollars.
According to a loan.org interview with Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer for the US Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, it is unknown if the band’s business managers and record label were aware of the fraud.
In the course of the criminal activity, Mawhinney falsely told banks that he had $8 million in assets, which acted as collateral for borrowing personal loans. He is also accused of funneling several hundred thousand dollars offshore to Cyprus.
Mawhinney fabricated brokerage statements which claimed he had millions in assets when in truth he had less than $10,000. His criminal fraud activity began in August 2009 and lasted until April 2011.
According to Mrozek, Mawhinney borrowed $500,000 from Zions Bank and $1 million from Bank of America. He also borrowed $6.25 million from Comerica Bank.
Starting in July 2011, Mawhinney began defaulting on each of his four loans.
“After the defaults, the banks began to investigate. They subsequently filed lawsuits against Mawhinney,” said Mrozek.
The subsequent IRS and FBI investigation lasted for about 18 months.
The investigation found that Mawhinney lied to bank officers when he claimed that he needed the personal loans to buy musical equipment. Once he had the money in hand, he actually used it to pay for traveling, personal entertainment and a luxury tour bus.
If Mawhinney is convicted, he could face up to 30 years in a federal prison for making false statements on a loan application.
However, he was not alone in the criminal operations. Matt and Jason Salazar, two sibling recording studio co-owners also provided false documents to several banks in a conspiracy with Mawhinney.
“The Salazars are pleading to conspiring to engage in loan fraud,” said Mrozek.
Mawhinney falsely claimed that he was the owner of the Salazars’ studio when meeting with a Comerica loan officer.
Mawhinney’s arraignment is set for Feb. 11.