Four men were arrested Wednesday on charges they conspired to defraud investors with concocted claims that they had ties to Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson.
Kwasi Asare, Mark Lamica, James Ganiere and Kevin Carriker falsely claimed they were authorized to raise $19.5 million for Rih’s 2018-2019 tour and promised potential investors a 22% return, federal prosecutors confirmed to ABC News.
Last July, however, an attorney who represents the global star contacted the FBI to report the men, whom the attorney denied ever knowing.
“Both the Attorney and representatives of Rihanna were interviewed by the FBI and each denied knowing defendant Kwasi Asare, denied that Rihanna had agreed to do the tour and denied that defendant Asari was authorized to raise capital on behalf of Rihanna for this tour or any other tour,” court documents note.
Later that same month, an undercover FBI agent posing as an investor was introduced to Asare and began communicating with him, according to the complaint.
Asare solicited a $4 million investment from the agent in November for an alleged Bruno Mars concert at San Diego’s Petco Park. Asare allegedly claimed fellow-defendants Lamica and Ganiere had organized the show through their company, Rio Vista Universal.
According to court records, Asare assured an FBI undercover agent that Mars would perform at Petco Park in San Diego in March. But when the FBI interviewed Mars’ manager and business partner, they denied knowing Asare and said the “Please Me” crooner had never agreed, or even been asked, to perform.
In another conversation with an FBI undercover agent, court records reveal that Lamica claimed Janet Jackson agreed to a 16-show tour and investors would receive a 35% return on a $20 million investment.
FBI agents spoke to Jackson last month “who advised the agent that she did not know, nor had any business dealings with, Kwasi Asare, Mark Lamica, James Ganiere or Kevin Carricker,” court records state.
The defendants were arrested in California where they’re due to make an initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles. In addition, they have a court date in Central Islip, NY on May 15.
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