The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History by Tyler Gray
Requirements: ePub reader, 965kb
Overview: Without Lou Pearlman, there would have been no Backstreet Boys, no *NSYNC, and possibly no Justin Timberlake. In the late 1990s, Pearlman’s boy bands ushered out guitar-and-angst-driven grunge music, and *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys began to dominate the television and radio airwaves. At the core of this squeaky-clean pop revolution was a sinister international fraud conceived by Pearlman, a husky huckster who first honed his crooked business skills as a teenage math nerd and blimp enthusiast in Flushing, Queens. From there in the mid 1980s and from his Orlando, Florida, base in the early 1990s through 2007, he cheated hundreds of investors out of nearly $500 million. When they finally caught on to him and started demanding he return their money, the “Sixth Backstreet Boy” had already fled to Germany and then to Indonesia, where he was eventually nabbed by authorities and charged with a historic federal fraud.