Backstreet Boys and NSync founder Lou Pearlman dies
21 August 2016
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
American boy band mogul Lou Pearlman has died in prison at the age of 62.
Pearlman launched the careers of the Backstreet Boys, the best-selling boy band of all time, and NSync, among others.
He was jailed for 25 years in 2008 over a massive $ 300m (£153m) Ponzi fraud scheme.
NSync singer Lance Bass tweeted that Pearlman was not the best businessman but that he would not be where he was without his influence.
The cause of death has not yet been revealed.
‘Greed got in his way’
Pearlman was inspired by the success of New Kids on the Block and formed his own record label, launching a $ 3m talent sweep that in 1993 selected five unknowns to be the Backstreet Boys.
They went on to sell 130 million records.
NSync were also a huge success, selling more than 55 million.
Pearlman later managed other boy bands such as LFO, Take 5, Natural and O-Town, and the girl group Innosense, which initially featured Britney Spears.
Lance Bass wrote on Twitter: “Word is that #LouPearlman has passed away. He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today wthout his influence. RIP Lou.”
O-Town’s Ashley Parker Angel posted: “Love him or hate him, Lou gave many of us our start. It’s a shame he let greed get in his way.”
Pearlman swindled family, friends, investors and banks by enticing them to put money into two fake companies for 20 years.
Prosecutors counted at least 250 individual victims who lost a total of $ 200m plus 10 financial institutions that lost $ 100m.
The judge at his trial said victims included “his family, his close friends and people in their 70s and 80s who have lost their life savings”.
“So the sympathy factor doesn’t run high with the court,” the judge said.
In a statement, Pearlman had said: “Since my arrest, I’ve come to realise the harm that’s been done. I’m truly sorry and I apologise for what’s happened.”