Lou Pearlman, Man Behind Backstreet Boys And NSYNC, Dies In Prison–Boy Bands React

Lou Pearlman, founder of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, has died at the age of 62. Pearlman, who has been in prison since 2008 for his role in a Ponzi scheme, found huge financial success as the producer and manager of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC before both bands broke away from Lou by filing lawsuits against Pearlman for misrepresentation and fraud.

The Backstreet Boys were discovered through a talent contest put on by Lou Pearlman. Photo by Diane Freed/Getty Images. The Backstreet Boys were discovered through a talent contest put on by Lou Pearlman. [Photo by Diane Freed/Getty Images]According to Billboard, Pearlman was the first cousin of musician Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel and his interest in music blossomed from that kinship. Known to be infatuated with 1980s boy band New Kids On The Block, Pearlman made it his goal to find and promote the boy band genre in the 1990s.

Lou Pearlman’s first success story was the Backstreet Boys, who had six top 10 singles and nine albums in Billboard’s Top 10. The Backstreet Boys would soon find competition with Pearlman’s new project, NSYNC, who would experience similar success though their two most successful albums would arise after NSYNC’s break up with Lou.

Following the success of the Backstreet Boys, Lou Pearlman founded NSYNC. Photo by Dan Callister/Getty Images. Following the success of the Backstreet Boys, Lou Pearlman founded NSYNC. [Photo by Dan Callister/Getty Images]Though Pearlman spent the early part of the Backstreet Boys’ career sinking millions of dollars into their promotion, Lou would eventually create his entertainment empire, Trans Continental, using the revenue from the Boys’ and NSYNC’s success. Pearlman would go on to mentor Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s younger brother Aaron Carter, O-Town, LFO, and Jordan Knight. Eventually, all groups represented by Lou Pearlman with the exception of one, US5, would sue him. As it turned out, the instinct of NSYNC and Backstreet Boys proved to be correct. Lou Pearlman’s Trans Continental empire was a scam.

According to Entertainment Weekly, in 2006 it was discovered that Pearlman had taken more than $300 million from investors. Pearlman fled the country and was arrested in Indonesia before being brought back to the United States to face the music. Convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements during a bankruptcy proceeding, Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As if Lou Pearlman’s business dealings weren’t enough to disgrace and dishonor him, another more sordid rumor persisted regarding Pearlman and his sexual interest in young men. According to ABC News, as Lou was awaiting the start of his fraud trial, accusations of molestation arose in a Vanity Fair article regarding Pearlman requesting sexual favors in return for helping musicians with their careers.

Though Pearlman denied the allegations of sexual impropriety, the mother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and solo artist Aaron Carter alleged was one of Lou’s more prominent accusers.

“Certain things happened, and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn other mothers,” Jane Carter told Vanity Fair of Pearlman. “I tried to expose him for what he was years ago.”

The death of Lou Pearlman undoubtedly will have an effect on those whose careers he helped launch and those whom were victimized by him. Though many of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC have yet to comment on Pearlman’s demise, several artists expressed condolences on social media.

#LouPearlman my old manager died in prison… Rip Lou not the best business guy really at all but he did discover me karma is real

— KiD CaRTer (@aaroncarter) August 21, 2016

Despite his atrocities, even those who had issue with Lou Pearlman acknowledge that without Lou, some of the 1990s most beloved music may not exist. The Backstreet Boys still remains a strong act and out of NSYNC arose one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Justin Timberlake.

Pearlman’s cause of death is unknown at this time.

[Photo by John Raoux/AP Images]