AUGUSTA, Ga. – Wu-Tang Clan famously said it ain’t nothing to (mess) with, and a Georgia man found that out the hard way.
A man who wanted cash to rule everything around him (C.R.E.A.M.) was recently convicted of pretending to be a member of the famous Staten Island rap group while scamming hospitality providers, studios and limo services out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Walker Washington, 53, of Augusta, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Washington was also ordered to pay nearly $300,000 to 19 businesses defrauded in the scheme and must serve three years of supervised release after he finishes his 100-month prison term.
According to court documents and testimony, Washington and Aaron Barnes-Burpo of Florida admitted they pretended to be affiliated with Roc Nation production company, a company founded by rapper Jay-Z, and the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan as early as 2019. They then used fraudulent and stolen credit cards to rent luxury limousines and defraud hotels, caterers and production studios of thousands of dollars in goods and services in multiple cities, primarily in the Southeast, according to the Department of Justice.
“These two flim-flam artists and their phony entourage lived large for several weeks by scamming hospitality providers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “We commend the skeptical hotel clerk who saw through the scam and alerted law enforcement, bringing this scheme to a halt.”
According to the Augusta Chronicle, the men left one hotel with a $45,000 unpaid bill and Hyatt Regency Atlanta told the FBI the group walked away without paying its $39,000 tab.
The pair had also been driving a Rolls-Royce Phantom rented from A-National Limousine, which reported a loss of nearly $60,000, The Chronicle reported.
Barnes-Burpo was previously sentenced to seven years in prison after also pleading guilty and also must pay restitution to the businesses victimized in the scheme.
“These two scammers will have plenty of time to figure out if their few weeks of unearned fame was worth several years in prison,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “With this sentence, law enforcement and the victims of their scam, have spoken loudly that we won’t tolerate anyone who takes anything they do not earn or deserve.”