Louis J. Pearlman D
espite the overwhelming and undisputable evidence put forward by Florida authorities that his corporate employee savings program, offered to the general public since 1991, was a massive fraud, Lou Pearlman, of Backstreet Boys fame, in an open letter to the Orlando Sentinel, expressed his optimistic vision of a bright future and love for Florida, not once mentioning any concern for the investors, many of whom were elderly, who trusted their life savings with the seemingly self-absorbed Svengali.
Somehow blaming the latest news of securities malfeasance and unpaid bank loan debts, currently exceeding $447 million, on his success, Pearlman, from safely abroad, stated, "The tremendous amount of attention given to my private company is largely due to the fact that although we are a local company, we have enjoyed high-profile success on an international scale. [continued below]....
Beleaguered by multiple lawsuits, the promoter still managed to maintain a positive spin of things even as his Church Street offices in Orlando, jet and personal condominiums were being foreclosed upon as security for the multiple loans he has since defaulted on. "I'm an optimist. Rebuilding and making things better is what I do.."
Initially blaming the rash of multi-million dollar lawsuits on greedy exploiters of his fame and fortune, the Orlando landmark turned his attention to media naysayers while expressing pride in what he has accomplished thus far. It seems, however, that given the implosion of his talent and airline empire under colossal debt and legal wranglings, Mr. Pearlman may not have been justified in taking a $200 million dollar dividend from his debt-strapped concerns in 2005/06 alone, according to a state lawsuit.
While living on the run in Europe, or some tropical locale, may have curtailed some of Pearlman's opulent indulgences, the errant entertainment expert has managed to totally devastate a multitude of elderly investors who relied on his jovial charm and purported business acumen to protect their retirement savings. While reassuring savings plan and stock investors that all was well, Lou was simultaneously selling off any tangible assets, converting them to cash in hand for his evasive trip abroad.
As they delayed investor withdrawals by promising eightfold riches from an imaginary IPO, Lou Pearlman and his Trans Continental employees were simultaneously carting off documents and valuables, including crystal vases, plasma TVs and furniture.
Though some items were returned in response to demands by the receiver, Pearlman sold off his interest in various entitles, such as the Rocks jewelry store and Pearl Restaurant in Orlando and luxury condos and apartments in New York City as well as some of his cars, leaving the rest under a burden of debt.
Although Pearlman created more than 100 companies, they were all run as one enterprise, with money flowing from one to another without any use of acceptable accounting standards.
The man who launched 'NSync and the Backstreet Boys used money from new investors to repay old investors until the long-running scheme imploded. Whether it ran out of money or he just decided it was time to run off with the bulk of it is unknown at this time. What is known is that he left the country owing over 1800 investors more than $317-million and banks $130 million.
Once known as the preeminent boy-band promoter, Lou Pearlman's major accomplishment will be to have orchestrated the world's longest running Ponzi scheme in history.
While most of these investment frauds implode within 18 to 24 months. "Lyin' Lou", through his enormous public persona, and the wisdom to keep the bogus interest rate reasonably low, has managed to dupe the investing public and the authorities for over twenty years.
Promoted by a select group of salespeople who portrayed themselves as financial advisers, the EISA program guaranteed rates which bested bank offerings by providing from 6 to 10% depending on how much you deposited and how long you locked it in for. These agents of Pearlman, many of whom have histories of selling questionable high-yield securities, were paid up-front commissions of about ten percent.
Beyond entrusting their life savings to Lou, many considered him a family friend, inviting him to special events such as weddings or asking him to be the executor of their wills. Ever the savvy salesman, Pearlman remembered to call people to sincerely wish them a happy birthday.
Pearlman's investment fraud prowess now overshadows a litany of other fraud related activities for which he has yet to be held to account for. These include bankruptcy fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion, securities fraud, wire and mail fraud, money laundering and racketeering to name but a few.
Long protected from public exposure by his vast array of influential Republican supporters and his vindictive use of litigation to suppress any individual detractors, Pearlman seemed immune from prosecution despite a litany of warnings to the authorities.
It finally took the magnitude of a half billion dollars in victim losses to break the aura of invincibility.
Still, many victims are shocked that government regulators haven't done more to protect investors. Records show that a federal investigator suspected as early as 1995 that Lou Pearlman's investor program might not be as secure as the mogul claimed -- and asked Florida officials to investigate.
But despite that and other red flags raised in 1999, 2001 and 2004, government authorities did not seek to shut down the Orlando-based investment program until late in 2006.
So, aware for years that Pearlman was offering unlicensed and unregulated securities to the general public, the Florida agency responsible for putting an end to his unrepentant chicanery, the Office of Financial Regulation, instead accepted the unsubstantiated word of the self-professed billionaire that he would no longer do so.
Investors, reassured that their investment was not only FDIC insured ( Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) but backed up further with supplemental coverage from AIG and Lloyds of London, consolidated their entire portfolios into the one security, many handing over millions of dollars. Even those that deposited far less, often gave up their entire life savings based on outright lies and document-backed deceptions.
Even months after the FBI and the IRS raided his home and business headquarters prosecutors seem overwhelmed by the scope of his deceptive criminality to the point that they have yet to lay charges.
Left destitute by these remorseless conmen, the distraught victims, through a website at http://scammedbypearlman.com
are now pleading with the federal government to help by at least giving tax credits to affected investors based on a sliding scale according to their age, with the most elderly receiving a tax credit of 10% of their lost investment each year, spread over a ten year period.
While victims have been encouraged to send letters to national media outlets, congressmen and other elected officials, the campaign has so far been met with apparent indifference to their plight.
Even Charlie Crist, the newly elected Governor of Florida, has remained mute on the topic, perhaps due to the fact that he has personally been named as a defendant in an investor lawsuit for failing to properly investigate and act upon some of Pearlman's other apparent crimes.
Les Henderson, one of many fraud awareness advocates who have covered Pearlman's misdeeds for years, recently released a book about "Big Poppa's" foray into talent scouting, along with several convicted criminals, entitled "Under Investigation: The Inside Story of the Florida Attorney General's Investigation of Wilhelmina Scouting Network - The Largest Model and Talent Scam in America." which is available at Amazon.com Under Investigation ISBN 0-9687133-3-5 His other book "Crimes of Persuasion: Schemes, Scams, Frauds" deals with telemarketing and investment fraud in general as does his website www.crimes-of-persuasion.com
Mr. Henderson was prompted to investigate and write the highly detailed book after Pearlman sued several of his detractors for notifying the Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist about the obvious criminal activities occurring within the Church Street complex.
The book suggests that Charlie Crist whitewashed the investigation in favor of Pearlman, who, has since hosted fundraising parties at his home for the newly elected Governor.
The bombastic and clearly frivolous case against the fraud expert was recently dismissed for lack of evidence after two and half years in an Orlando court.
Mr. Henderson, in turn, has also sued Mr. Pearlman, his companies and his associates in Ontario, Canada for defamation. That case is proceeding but even with a judgment, there is little likelihood now of any recovery beyond that of his vindicated reputation.
Another fraud awareness site Rip-off Report, run by Ed Magedson, also felt the wrath of Pearlman's legal fury for their excellent reporting of his modeling venture and criminal associations back in 2002.
When Ed Magedson founder of Rip-off Report had his top investigator, Frank Torelli, delve into the murky world of the talent scouting empire they soon found themselves on the receiving end of ongoing and relentless litigation, ruthless smear campaigns and personal danger.
Many of the earlier news reports focusing on Pearlman, such as Dateline, were only made possible by the investigative efforts of Frank Torelli, ED Magedson and Rip-Off Report. These special reports can be found at these links. Trans Continental Talent & Model Scouting ripoff Scam Draws Negative International Press & Government Investigations Orlando Florida *UPDATE: TCTalent/Monster.com affiliation, BBB cover-up *UPDATE ..TCT to become WILHELMINA SCOUTING NETWORK ..early announcement yields insider trading potential *UPDATE ..TCT tells employees to file phony Rip-off Reports. Lou Pearlman, Charlie Crist, Alec Defrawy, Ayman Ahmed El-Difrawi, John MacGregor, Ed Bell, Jason Hoffman, Cortes Randell, George Lemieux, ripoff corruption white-collar crime book Under Investigation by Les Henderson, Government-in-the-Sunshine Law corruption, scouting network, Florida Attorney General cover-up, Options Talent, Wilhelmina Scouting Network, Trans Continental Entertainment Group, eModel, Florida Governor modeling scams prosecutor fraud to consumers, Federal Trade Commission, Monster.com enabled 150,000+ consumers victimized - forced resignation of Jackie Dowd for exposing fraud - Consumer Advocate ED Magedson harassed with litigation & threats Orlando Florida *Consumer Comment ..GET THIS BOOK, IT IS A MUST! Lou Pearlman's NYPD Pizza Franchise logo rip-off Shows lack of respect to NYC's finest and law enforcement, Attorney General NY names Pearlman a scam artist. Same scam artist - owner & operator of Wilhelmina, emodel, Model Search America, Options Talent, & Trans Continental Talent ripoff already scammed hundreds of thousands of consumers INTERNATIONALLY Orlando Florida. Wilhelmina & Trans Continental Media Shuffle ripoff Pearlman sues Defrawy, Anthony Toma, Mickie Parris while Dieter Esch fires Ray Lata and Deidre Kilmartin in Criminal Cover Up, many paid to keep their mouth shut New York City New York *UPDATE ..This Reader has done the homework: Pearlman lawsuit is an acknowledgement that the amount of fraud involved is close to $100 million and as accurately portrayed . Lou Pearlman on Wikipedia Wilhelmina & Trans Continental. Order the book to read more of Under Investigation: The Inside Story of the Florida Attorney General's Investigation of Wilhelmina Scouting Network, the Largest Model and Talent Scam in America. Press Release for Under Investigation. News Item discusses book about Charlie Crist and Lou Pearlman Clickpress Dishes Up Dirt on Charlie Crist and Lou Pearlman Charlie Crist Covers Up Crime in Bid for Governor of Florida Lou Pearlman Supports Charlie Crist in Florida Election Boy-band talent mogul and Svengali impresario Lou Pearlman exposed for consorting with criminals. Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is the subject of a new book that claims the attorney general tried to whitewash; an investigation into now-bankrupt talent and modeling agencies. Book Crist tried to 'whitewash' probe into modeling agencies. Jackie Dowd defends suing Lou Pearlman's companies. John MacGregor buries investigation of Lou Pearlman for Charlie Crist. Orlando Weekly discusses book "Under Investigation" ISBN 0968713335 Helen Huntley Trans Continental Blog
Pearlman operated many companies which defrauded the general public over the years. As he kept changing company names, to avoid scrutiny and minimize the apparent number of complaints, Rip-off Report was there to keep track of his deceptions. Based in Orlando, Florida, this enterprise operated under many names: Studio 58 Models; WHY Models; eFashionShow.com; emodel.com; Options Talent; Trans Continental Talent; Wilhelmina Scouting Network; and Web Style Network. No matter how hard he and his criminal partners tried to block exposure Rip-off Report stood firm and made sure that victims would have a forum to complain even though they were getting sued and threatened. Go back in time to view this exposure by the top consumer advocate on the web today. See the links below my signiture.
Canada Trans Continental Talent & Model Scouting ripoff Scam Draws Negative International Press & Government Investigations Orlando Florida *UPDATE: TCTalent/Monster.com affiliation, BBB cover-up *UPDATE ..TCT to become WILHELMINA SCOUTING NETWORK ..early announcement yields insider trading potential *UPDATE ..TCT tells employees to file phony Rip-off Reports. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Wilhelmina Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Emodel Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Options Talent Emodel.com Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Trans Continental Talent AKA Options Talent