A group of men was arrested for allegedly masquerading as members of the Wu-Tang Clan and scamming luxury hotels in the South for over $100,000.
According to documents obtained by ABC News, the men showed up to hotels and told workers they were part of the Roc Nation entertainment firm, which was founded by Jay-Z. Documents show the suspects told at least one hotel they were members of the legendary rap act.
The suspects reportedly stayed at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, racking up $45,000 in various charges, and left without paying the bill. A report from the FBI states they also skipped out on a $39,000 tab at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
Hotels were not there only targets, as the suspects purportedly rented a Rolls-Royce Phantom from A-National Limousine, with the company reporting an unpaid bill around $60,000. The group also spent time in two recording studios — where they allegedly owe more than $17,000.
WEAR ABC News 3 reports that two men in the crew were arrested. Both Aaron Barnes-Burpo, 28, and Walker Washington, 51, have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. Washington and other members of the group are listed as homeless.
The suspects were apprehended when they attempted to reserve 10 rooms at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Georgia. Prosecutors told ABC News that the reservation was listed under the Wu-Tang Clan and Roc Nation. A member of the staff became suspicious and decided to verify the claim by calling Roc Nation. A representative of the firm said they were not affiliated with these individuals, hence prompting hotel staff to alert authorities.
Police arrested Barnes-Burpo when he tried to check-in along with others under the Roc Nation booking. Two members of the group claimed they were ignorant of the fraudulent activity and had been hired by the suspect as bodyguards. Only Barnes-Burpo and Washington were charged.
The complaint states the men used one stolen credit card and a “likely fake” credit card to make the bookings at the hotels, music studio, and rental company.
FBI Special Agent Chris Hacker released a statement to WEAR ABC News 3, thanking the staff of the Fairfield for helping catch the “alleged fraudsters.” He also had a message for anyone considering pulling off a similar scam.
“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,” the agent said.
The FBI is working along with the local police department on the case.