Legendary music mogul Lou Pearlman, who created the boy bands Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for stealing more than $300 million from investors.
But Federal Judge G. Kendall Sharp, in Orlando, Fla., said he would reduce the jail time by one month for every $1 million Pearlman returned to the investors.
Pearlman bilked thousands of people out of millions of dollars in an investment scam that went on for decades, authorities said. His victims included “his family, his close friends and people in their 70s and 80s who have lost their life savings,” according to Sharp.
Pearlman pleaded guilty in March to two counts of conspiracy, money laundering and using false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding. Pearlman, 53, had sought to delay the sentencing so he could launch his latest musical creation, the European pop band US5, in the United States and Asia.
During his music career, he also managed the bands LFO, Take 5 and O-Town. Both Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync previously filed suits against Pearlman because they believed they were not receiving a fair share of the bands’ profits. Those suits were settled out of court.