Four suspects have reportedly been arrested and accused of getting wealthy investors to spend millions of dollars for concerts that were claimed to be headlined by Janet Jackson, Rihanna and Bruno Mars.
In July 2018, authorities were notified of the scam when the entertainment company representing Rihanna contacted the FBI to report that a man named Kwasi Asare was trying to get investors to give around $20 million towards an upcoming Rihanna concert that doesn’t exist.
The 39-year-old Asare who is from New Orleans, according to New York Daily News, promised a 22% return on the investment but Rihanna denied ever knowing Kwasi and never agreed to do a tour. This caused for an FBI agent to go undercover as a potential investor and spoke to Asare for nearly an entire year to try to solicit investments. In this year they met several times in person in California and Las Vegas.
By November 2018, Asare tried to get the agent into investing $4 million into a Bruno Mars concert at San Diego’s Petco Park, which of course did not exist. Then again in February 2019, where Asare wanted $20 million for a Janet Jackson tour with 16 shows. He assured the agent that he would receive $400,000 per show according to court documents. The agent even wired Asare a down payment of $25,000 on March 8th for the Jackson tour.
Just like Rihanna’s team, representatives of Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars both say they do not know Asare and his team. “Bruno Mars never agreed to do the Petco Park Show, nor had anyone even made him such a proposition,” the complaint states. And brother and manager of Janet Jackson, Randy Jackson, told FBI investigators he did not know them and that Janet had not committed to a “2019 JJ Concert Tour or any concert.”
In April, the undercover agent met up with Asare and his team to speak on the upcoming Jackson tour. Along with Asare, their business, Rio Vista Universal, consisted of Mark Lamica, 52, James Ganiere,47, and Kevin Carriker, 49, where they tried to get the agent to give another $2 million as soon as possible.
All four of them were arrested Wednesday morning in California with charges of fraud for conspiracy to defraud investors. They are due to appear in court next month in Long Island, NY.
In the team, Mark Lamica, ‘has a long history of defrauding investors in similar schemes”. He also falsely claimed that he represented the rock group KISS.
According to NBC News, “Carriker also allegedly has a ‘long history of defrauding victims’ and was convicted of grand larceny in California in 2003 for defrauding elderly people of thousands of dollars by ‘stealing their gold and silver collectible coins.’” they continued, “He also embezzled $75,000 from his former employer and then ‘robbed said employer and a co-worker, and stabbed his employer and threatened to kill his co-worker,’ documents state. He served 13 years in prison for both those offenses and was out on parole.”
Written by: Imani Maxberry
Sources: www.bet.com // www.nydailynews.com // www.nbcnews.com