Local musician pleads guilty to fake project scam

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

File photo (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
TACOMA, Wash. —

A musician and record producer from Vancouver, Wash., pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud in connection with schemes to lure investors in non-existent music projects.

Kasey Anderson, 33, admitted in a plea agreement that he defrauded investors who believed they were investing in legitimate albums and concerts, according to U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

The projects included a compilation album and concert series featuring artists such as
Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and R.E.M.

When Anderson solicited funds for the album, he claimed that a portion of its proceeds would support the legal defense fund for the West Memphis Three, three men convicted of murder in Arkansas in 1994. The men garnered significant attention and support from people who believed in their innocence.

Anderson told the investors that he had agreements signed by various music stars and a family member of one of the West Memphis Three. However, no such agreements existed.

In order to help convince investors that his project was legitimate, Anderson created fake email accounts for prominent music industry members and sent emails from those accounts.

He also forged statements from a music-distribution company purporting to show that the project had earned $1.7 million from advance sales.

In addition to the West Memphis Three project, Anderson solicited investors for three other music-related projects using forged documents and false representations.

He solicited investors to fund an album of his music, and provided false paperwork indicating that thousands of copies of the album had been sold, earning more than $1.4 million in royalties. In fact, the album had earned less than $10,000 in royalties.

He also forged documents indicating he had earned royalties in connection with an album by an unrelated artist, when in fact the album had been released by another record label years earlier, and that a 2011 concert tour had earned more than $200,000.

And, he sent investors forged bank account statements showing balances of hundreds of thousands of dollars more than existed in the accounts.

In all, Anderson took in nearly $526,000 from more than 30 investors.

He has repaid $160,258, leaving more than $365,580 in losses for investors.

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 22. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.