Florida man sentenced to prison after pretending to be part of the Wu-Tang Clan


Wu-Tang Clan (Not pictured: Aaron Barnes-Burpo) - PHOTO COURTESY WU-TANG CLAN/FACEBOOK
  • Photo courtesy Wu-Tang Clan/Facebook
  • Wu-Tang Clan (Not pictured: Aaron Barnes-Burpo)

It can be hard to keep the sprawling maze of Wu-Tang Clan members and affiliates in your head. Going beyond the name U-God is guaranteed to earn blank stares in any conversation outside the earshot of white rap nerds and line cooks (but we repeat ourselves). So, Aaron Barnes-Burpo of Crestview, Florida had to think he stumbled upon a pretty neat scam when he started defrauding businesses by claiming to be a member of the legendary rap crew.

The Florida panhandle is a long way from Shaolin, however, and the Wu-Tang Clan is notoriously not to be trifled with. The 29-year-old was sentenced to seven years in federal prison on Monday after admitting to using his phony connections to scam hotels, limousines and other services from 19 different businesses. Along with the charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Barnes-Burpo was ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to the businesses he defrauded.

Authorities allege that Barnes-Burpo was joined in his scheme by 52-year-old Augusta, Georgia, resident Walker Washington. In addition to claiming to be part of the Wu-Tang Clan, they also said they were affiliated with the production company Roc Nation. Walker has pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges.

“For several weeks, these men defrauded multiple businesses by posing as famous musical artists and their retinue,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes. “Thanks to an alert hotel clerk, their phony hit parade came to an abrupt halt.”

The men were reported to police by the staff at a Fairfield Inn and Suites on Nov. 21, 2020. Presumably, the clerk knew how to spell Cappadonna without looking it up.

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