June 16, 2024

Image by: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

G Herbo received a sentencing of three years probation subsequent to his acceptance of guilt in a scam that involved the usage of pilfered credit card information. With this scam, the Chicago-based rapper supposedly accrued almost $140,000 in benefits including private jet flights, holiday accommodations and upmarket vehicle rentals.

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The artist who is known for three top-10 music albums on the Billboard 200 over the last four years was sentenced by a federal judge in Massachusetts, after agreeing to a plea bargain in the summer of the previous year. This deal led to him accepting guilt on one count of conspiracy in wire fraud and one count of making false statements to a federal official.

Authorities claim that Herbo (aka Herbert Wright) alongside accomplices, exploited genuine individuals and businesses by utilizing the stolen credit card details to fund an “opulent lifestyle”, which was showcased on his social media platforms. His extravagant expenditures purportedly included a villa rental in Jamaica worth $14,500, and around $34,000 on high-end vehicle leases like a Mercedes Benz 5560.

“His portrayal of his wealth through private jets, luxurious cars and posh villas conveyed the impression that he got all this through his thriving rap career,” stated U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “On the contrary, his extravagant lifestyle was shamelessly funded by deceit and fraud using stolen account details that caused significant damage across various businesses and left a trail of victims grappling with financial losses.”

Thursday’s sentencing was lenient compared to what the prosecutors demanded,i.e., to incarcerate Herbo in federal prison for a year on top of three years of probation. Besides probation, the rapper was also asked to pay restitution and forfeiture of $139,968 for each count, including a fine of $5,500.

Herbo, along with five others, was charged in December 2020 for using the valid credit card details, such as security codes, actual names and other private data to accumulate charges successfully. According to the prosecutors, businesses generally allowed these charges, which caused cardholders to dispute them, eventually making credit card companies redirect the losses back to these businesses.

From March 2017 to November 2018, this trick was reportedly orchestrated by an associate named Antonio Strong. He was contacted by Herbo for procurement of vehicles (“whips”), or accommodation (“cribs”), in addition to other products and services. One major charge was private jet travel, with the accusation being that Herbo eventually used stolen cards to pay for four charters costing over $80,000.

Herbo isn’t the only hip hop artist to face charges related to credit card scamming. In 2013, Guerilla Black, a rapper from Los Angeles, was sentenced to over nine years of incarceration over a fraud conducted through more than 27,000 stolen credit card numbers. Even in 2019, federal prosecutors levied similar accusations against Selfmade Kash, a Detroit- based rapper. After admitting guilt, he was sentenced to three years of probation.

In Herbo’s case, it wasn’t alleged that the rapper himself procured the stolen card information, but they claimed that Herbo was aware of Strong’s illegal activities and repeatedly solicited his help for the same.

In one of their legal filings, the prosecutors remarked, “Wright financed Strong, received flights, vehicles, and accommodations from Strong using illicit account details, and they communicated frequently about their illegal transactions.”

One such instance was when Strong texted Herbo, instructing him, “Don’t forget DARREN IS MY NAME”, to use the pilfered details for reserving luxury vehicle rentals. To which, Herbo texted back, “I gotchu bro”.

Initally, two counts of aggravated identity theft were also levied against Herbo, which are more severe offenses that each carries a minimum two-year imprisonment. Nonetheless, these charges were withdrawn under the plea deal that summer.

The rapper’s representative has not responded immediately to Billboard’s request for comment.