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Charity conman faces 4-year prison stint

Kasey Anderson said he had Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen on board for benefit album, but used money for his own career

A fraudster who conned investors out of nearly $600,000 by vowing to release a charity album featuring Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen faces up to four years behind bars.

Kasey Anderson from Portland, USA, also said he would host a concert in aid of the so-called West Memphis Three – a trio of men convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in the 1990s. Supporters of the men say there were wrongly accused.

Anderson, 34, was caught defrauding 30 investors for the non-existent album and later also conned more money by claiming he was to host a live show featuring some of the album's apparent stars.

However, he was actually using the money to bankroll his own musical career. He says mental illness and drug abuse led him to lie to friends.

According to the Seattle PI, Anderson admitted to the benefit fraud and faces nearly four years in prison for the $586,000 theft when he is sentenced this week. Assistant US Attorney Andrew C Friedman said: “Time and again, Anderson faced a choice of what to do. And, time and again, Anderson chose to lie to friends and other victims who had trusted him with their money.”

Having already pleaded guilty to fraud last August, Anderson then convinced investors he could raise millions for the West Memphis Three. He promised a benefit concert featuring the biggest names in rock music.

Anderson said in a letter to the court: “I lied to myself and others, and believing those lies, I told myself consistently that whatever was going on with me – I could fix it on my own. I convinced myself that it was normal.”

Anderson sought out investors for a compilation album to be titled Trapped Like a Ghost.

He claimed Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and REM would be on the album, with profits from the album and concert to go to the West Memphis Three Legal Defence Fund. Anderson claimed to have firm agreements from Tom Petty, Pearl Jam and Johnny Depp.

He then impersonated an entertainment industry attorney, falsified bank records and claimed two Springsteen hits released in the early 1980s – Don’t Back Down and Blood Brothers – were actually new tracks the Boss recorded with Arcade Fire.

Anderson, who has been in jail since December, added: “I am a deeply flawed and mentally ill person who made some terrible choices, causing so much emotional and financial damage to others. I am so sorry for what I've done and want so badly to make it right.”

He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

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