All of Lou Pearlman’s crazy schemes have finally earned him something — 25 years in jail. Here’s someone who was, at best, a shrewd but successful music manager who bilked artists out of earnings and sought to get his company name or logo on just about every building in Orlando. And it would have actually worked, if not for those meddling kids. But, seriously, even if he hadn’t just been outed as someone who exploited the artists on his talent roster, his insatiable appetite for fame and fortune led him to build massive Ponzi schemes on the back of the legitimate work he did with NKOTB and N’Sync.
Here’s the funny part.
The judge in the case has decided that Pearlman can actually buy his way out of prison by submitting restitution for his victims. For every $1 million dollars he returns, he reduces his sentence by a month. Should he find a way to replace all of the $300 million he stole from his clients and customers, he gets out of jail.
Doesn’t this seem like sentencing a carpenter to live in a prison yard with an endless supply of lumber and nails?
With all the song sharks already legally bilking artists out of thousands of dollars at a clip, how long would it really take for someone with Pearlman’s pedigree to get back in the business of staging talent review nights that earn $10,000 in a couple of hours? (Three of those a day would effectively cut his sentence in half.)
As long as people still believe you can buy your way to fame, there will be plenty of ways for guys like Lou Pearlman to make money, even from behind bars.