A Vancouver, Wash., musician and record producer has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for a scheme to lure investors into bogus music projects, including a charity album he allegedly said would feature songs by Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and R.E.M.
Kasey Anderson, the frontman and guitarist for the alt-country group Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, pleaded guilty in January 2013 to wire fraud for taking more than $526,000 from 30 investors. At his sentencing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton ordered Anderson to pay nearly $600,000 in restitution.
According to a plea agreement, Anderson admitted that between 2009 and 2011, he tapped investors for more than $500,000 for several projects, including a charity album to help fund the defense for the “West Memphis Three,” three men convicted of murder in Arkansas in 1994 and whose case has garnered national attention.
Anderson claimed he has signed on numerous stars and a family member of one of the men, but those contracts did not exist, according to court documents. To further the fraud, Anderson created fake email accounts for prominent music industry members and sent emails from those accounts to investors, according to plea documents.
The charges alleged that Anderson had met some of the investors after they had helped him fund a successful European tour with The Honkies in 2009. In his original offering memorandum, he said he had claimed participation of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Foo Fighters, Johnny Depp and others.
The offering said the project would cost a total of $206,000, of which he would come up with half himself and tap investors for the other half. He predicted the album — which would be titled “Trapped Like a Ghost” — would sell 85,000 copies and be downloaded 100,000 times.
The investors would receive more than $500,000 back from their $103,000 investment within two years, Anderson said, according to the charges.