Chicago man sentenced to prison for music concert schemes

 
 
Updated 10/26/2021 12:35 PM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A Chicago man has been sentenced in Iowa to federal prison for running a scheme in which he collected deposits and money for other expenses related to music concerts that never took place.

Romel Murphy, 43, was sentenced last week to more than six years in federal prison after pleading guilty in January to one count of wire fraud, federal prosecutors in Cedar Rapids said in a news release. There is no parole in the federal system.

 

Investigators said Murphy used his talent booking agency to solicit music venues to send him money to secure artists' performances. Prosecutors said Murphy would send signed contracts to victims that appeared to have come from the artists, but that had actually been drafted and signed by Murphy himself. The venues would sign the contracts and wire funds to Murphy, which he never paid to the artists, but used for gambling and other personal uses.

Murphy defrauded his victims of more than $410,000 from November 2017 through March 2019, prosecutors said, and his sentencing judge ordered him to pay more than $414,400 in restitution to his victims.

Murphy had three prior convictions for federal fraud-related offenses and committed two of those offenses while on federal supervised release, prosecutors said.

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