The Bernie Madoff Musician

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Kasey Anderson, a folk-country musician from Portland, Oregen, USA, has been sentenced to four years in prison after defrauding more than 30 investors.

Anderson swindled  investors out of nearly €450,000 between 2009-2011. The Portland musician told investors that all the money raised was going towards the making of a charity album for the West Memphis Three defense fund. The West Memphis Three were falsely imprisoned for over 18 years until DNA evidence exonerated them in 2011.

The charity record named Trapped Like A Ghost, was supposed to feature acts such as Tom Petty, Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam, Johnny Depp, R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen.

Instead of making a charity album, Anderson was funneling donations into his own musical career. He was able to trick people by using a network of fake e-mail addresses and false identities. He pretended to be a family member of one of the West Memphis Three, as well as lying about being a music tour manager and impersonating an entertainment lawyer.

Even more ridiculously, at a meeting of potential investors, he reportedly played an already released Springsteen track and attempted to pass it off as a new song collaboration with Arcade Fire. Apparently the investors were not big Bruce fans.

Anderson pleaded guilty to fraud and still owes almost €300,000 to investors. In a recent letter to the court, he apologised for his actions:

“I am a deeply flawed and mentally ill person who made some terrible choices, causing so much emotional and financial damage to others,” he said. “I am so sorry for what I’ve done and want so badly to make it right.”