Rapper G Herbo could be sentenced to more than a year in jail in fraud plot
MASSACHUSETTS, United States (AP)— The rapper G Herbo could face just over a year in jail after pleading guilty to his role in a scheme that used stolen credit card information to pay for an opulent lifestyle including private jets and designer puppies.
Under a deal with prosecutors reached last year, the 28-year-old Chicago rapper, whose real name is Herbert Wright III, entered a guilty plea in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed several counts of aggravated identity theft.
G Herbo is set to be sentenced Thursday.
Prosecutors, in their sentencing memo, argue that he should be jailed for a year and day and get 36 months of supervised release. They also want him to pay a $55,000 fine, enter a restitution order of nearly $140,000 and a forfeiture judgement of nearly $140,000.
Those fines would be on top of the $140,000 he agreed to forfeit, the amount he benefited from what prosecutors have said was a $1.5 million scheme that involved several other people.
Prosecutors argue the recommended sentence considers “the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant” and adequately reflects “the seriousness of the offense.”
Defense attorneys are calling for probation, noting G Herbo has expressed regret for his crimes. They also highlighted his contributions to the community as well as the fact he has matured “as a human being, as a family man and as a father.”
“Under the circumstances of this case, a sentence of probation will reflect the seriousness of the charge and protect the public,” according to G Herbo’s sentencing memo.
From at least March 2017 until November 2018, G Herbo and his promoter, Antonio Strong, used text messages, social media messages and emails to share account information taken from dark websites, authorities said.
On one occasion, the stolen account information was used to pay for a chartered jet to fly the rapper and members of his entourage from Chicago to Austin, Texas, authorities said. On another, a stolen account was used to pay nearly $15,000 for Wright and seven others to stay several days in a six-bedroom Jamaican villa.
In court documents, prosecutors said G Herbo “used the proceeds of these frauds to travel to various concert venues and to advance his career by posting photographs and/or videos of himself on the private jets, in the exotic cars, and at the Jamaican villa.”
G Herbo also helped Strong order two designer Yorkshire terrier puppies from a Michigan pet shop using a stolen credit card and a fake Washington state driver’s license, according to the indictment. The total cost was more than $10,000, prosecutors said.
When the pet shop’s owner asked to confirm the purchase with G Herbo, Strong directed her to do so through an Instagram message, and G Herbo confirmed he was buying the puppies, authorities said.
Because the stolen credit card information was authentic, the transactions went through and it wasn’t until later that the real credit card holders noticed and reported the fraud.