Its not uncommon to hear of rock and roll stars going to prison for various misdemeanors, but those offenses are usually to do with the misuse of narcotic substances rather than multi-million dollar fraud.
Classic Rock is reporting that Los Angeles based guitarist Marino De Silva has been jailed for up to eight years after scamming investors out of millions of dollars for albums by famous artists that he claimed to be producing.
De Silva, who, described himself as a multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning artist and close friend of Keith Richards
, approached investors with claims that he had unreleased tracks by Jimi Hendrix
, The Beatles
and The Rolling Stones
that he was planning to remaster and release.
However, once investors handed over their cheques to De Silva, they found that their money had quickly vanished. In the classic style of a Ponzi scheme he paid people tiny proportions of what he owed them by spending some of the cash he’d taken in from his latest victims.
And to top it all off, the recordings that he delivered were not even unreleased tracks by the artists in question; rather, poor quality interview material, and poor quality covers of their songs often recorded by De Silva himself.
One of the guitarist’s former friends, Mike Dawson, lost $38,000 in a Beatles album scam:
"He was living in a mansion and there was no question he had done well. He asked if I wanted to come on board with one of his ventures. He told me he had some Beatles tracks and he was going to digitally remaster them".
"But when the album was released it consisted of no new Beatles material – instead it was mainly cover versions including some recorded by De Silva himself".
"I feel like an idiot now because it’s so implausible – but he was a mate.
To be betrayed by a childhood friend is annoying. It seems he’s been using charitable foundations as fronts and simply living the high life without paying his investors back".