Musician Kasey Anderson Guilty of Wire Fraud

Kasey Anderson officially bit the bullet Wednesday. The 33-year-old Vancouver, Washington-based musician and producer pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud - coming one step closer to closing a chapter of his life he’d surely rather forget. In a plea agreement reached with U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan, Anderson admitted he “defrauded investors who believed they were investing in legitimate albums and concerts, including projects featuring major recording artists and celebrities,” including Pearl Jam and REM, according to a press release from Durkan’s office.

In all, Anderson admitted to stealing nearly $526,000 from more than 30 investors. To date he’s repaid $160,258, “leaving more than $365,580 in loss for investors,” according to federal prosecutors.

As Keegan Hamilton detailed in a December, 2012 article about Anderson’s trials and tribulations, Anderson says he was diagnosed as Type I bipolar late last year and had began taking medication for the disorder. In Hamilton’s profile (which came before federal charges were filed), Anderson comes off as contrite, making Wednesday’s guilty plea less than surprising.

“To the outside it looks like this guy is just malicious and just bleeds people dry,” Anderson told Seattle Weekly at the time. “I didn’t set out to do this. I abhor the person that I was, and the person that I am. I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be a person who is capable of those things, and when I think about it, don’t know how I could be. I’m not that person in my heart.”

Anderson declined comment for this piece. He’ll be sentenced Nov. 22, with wire fraud being punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Here’s the full press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office:

A Vancouver, Washington musician and record producer pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to wire fraud in connection with schemes to lure investors in non-existent music projects, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. KASEY ANDERSON, 33, admits in his plea agreement that he defrauded investors who believed they were investing in legitimate albums and concerts, including projects featuring major recording artists and celebrities. ANDERSON is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on November 22, 2013.

According to the facts set forth in the plea agreement, ANDERSON admitted that between 2009 and 2011, he induced more than $500,000 in investments for a number of projects, including a compilation album and concert series featuring well-known artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and R.E.M. ANDERSON also sought investors for his own album and tours, and the record of another musician. As part of the solicitation for the compilation album, ANDERSON represented that a portion of the proceeds from the record would support the legal defense fund for the “West Memphis Three,” three men convicted of murder in Arkansas in 1994, who had garnered significant attention and support from people who believed in their innocence. ANDERSON claimed to have agreements signed by various music stars and a family member of one of the West Memphis Three. No such agreements existed. ANDERSON created fake email accounts for prominent music industry members and sent emails from those accounts to further convince investors his project was legitimate. ANDERSON 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. ANDERSON 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. ANDERSON provided other 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. ANDERSON also 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. ANDERSON has repaid $160,258, leaving more than $365,580 in loss for investors. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Bates and Andrew Friedman.

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