Boy Band Mogul Sings the Blues

Creator of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync gets 25-year sentence.


Lou Pearlman—the mind behind boy band sensations Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync—will have plenty of time to plan new song-and-dance routines during the 25-year prison sentence he was given last week.

According to the Department of Justice, in addition to turning teenaged boys into stage-rattling heartthrobs, Pearlman also had a talent for making investor's money disappear.

The former music mogul pleaded guilty on March 4 to conspiracy, money laundering, and bankruptcy charges related to his involvement in fraudulent schemes that led to more than $300 million of losses, the DOJ said in a press release.

For more than two decades, Pearlman raised millions of dollars by telling investors that two companies he was affiliated with—Transcontinental Airlines Travel Services and Transcontinental Airlines—were operating successfully and that his stakes in the companies were worth millions of dollars, according to the DOJ.

From the press release:

That was not true. To the contrary, Transcontinental Airlines Travel Services, Inc. and Transcontinental Airlines, Inc. existed only on paper. Those companies had minimal employees, business operations, and revenue.

In addition to the prison term, Pearlman will also be forced to hand over assets including a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, a 2005 Chrysler 300, a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom, and a 2006 Cadillac Professional Limousine.

Anyone interested in learning more about the rise and fall of Lou Pearlman should check out this incredible Vanity Fair article.

prison sentences