Boy Band Mogul Lou Pearlman in Florida to Face Fraud Charges

Published July 11, 2007

| Associated Press

The creator of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync is back in Florida to face charges of defrauding a bank out of $20 million.

Lou Pearlman, 53, was escorted by federal marshals from Los Angeles to Orlando on Tuesday. He was being held in Orange County jail and was scheduled to have his first appearance before a judge Wednesday afternoon, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jimmy Disbrow said.

Pearlman was polite during the cross-country trip, joked about Florida's sweltering heat and told authorities he didn't want to talk to the media, Disbrow said.

Disbrow said he believed Pearlman was being represented by a public defender. A telephone message left for the public defender's office by The Associated Press wasn't immediately returned Tuesday night.

Pearlman has been globe-trotting, though not in luxury, since his arrest in Indonesia last month. He was expelled from Bali after the FBI contacted authorities there, then transferred to U.S. custody and flown to Guam, and later to Los Angeles.

He was indicted on three counts of bank fraud and single counts of mail and wire fraud for business he did with Evansville, Ind.-based Integra Bank N.A., according to court documents.

Pearlman is most famous for forming boy bands in the 1990s, but was also involved in airplane charter, real estate, model scouting and restaurant ventures. He stands accused of fraudulently securing millions in bank loans with documents from a fake accounting firm.

Assets have been liquidated in two bankruptcy cases against Pearlman and his companies, and he has ignored court actions against him for months.

Florida investigators separately allege that he defrauded more than 1,000 individual investors out of more than $315 million. Several banks say he collectively owes them more than $120 million, according to bankruptcy court documents.

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