Rapper G Herbo was sentenced to three years of probation Thursday after pleading guilty to his role in a scheme that used stolen credit card information to pay for a lavish lifestyle, including private jets and designer puppies.
As part of a deal with prosecutors reached last year, the 28-year-old Chicago rapper, whose real name is Herbert Wright III, pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield, Mass., to conspiracy to commit radio fraud and to false statements. In exchange, prosecutors dropped several counts of aggravated identity theft.
Along with the suspension, G Herbo was ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $139,968 each, as well as a $5,500 fine. Those fines are in addition to the $140,000 he earlier agreed to forfeit, the amount he profited from in what prosecutors said was a $1.5 million scheme involving several other people.
“On social media, Mr Wright boasted of an extravagant lifestyle. He gave the impression that the use of private jets, luxury cars and tropical villas were the legitimate fruits of his burgeoning rap career as ‘G Herbo,’” Deputy United States Attorney Joshua Levy said in a statement. “However, his lavish lifestyle was shamelessly based on deception and fraud using stolen account information which caused significant damage to many businesses, leaving a multitude of victims burdened with financial losses.”
Prosecutors, in their sentencing brief, argue that G Herbo should be jailed for a year and a day and receive 36 months of supervised release.
Defense attorneys asked for probation, noting that G Herbo has expressed remorse for his crimes. They also highlighted his contribution to the community as well as the fact that he has matured “as a person, as a family man and as a father”.
“Under the circumstances of this case, a suspended sentence would reflect the seriousness of the charge and protect the public,” according to G Herbo’s sentencing memo.
From at least March 2017 to November 2018, G Herbo and his promoter, Antonio Strong, used text messages, social media messages and emails to share account information from dark websites, authorities said.
In one case, 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. In another, a stolen account was used to pay nearly $15,000 for Wright and seven others to stay for several days in a six-bedroom Jamaican villa.
In court documents, prosecutors said G Herbo “used the proceeds of these scams to travel to various concert venues and promote his career by posting photos and/or videos of himself on her private jets, exotic cars and villa Jamaica. .”
G Herbo also helped Strong order two designer Yorkshire terrier puppies from a Michigan pet store 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 owner asked to confirm the purchase with G Herbo, Strong asked her to do so via an Instagram message, and G Herbo confirmed she was buying the puppies, authorities said.
Because the stolen credit card information was authentic, the transactions went through and only later did the real credit card holders notice and report the fraud.
G Herbo’s music focuses on his experiences growing up on the East Side of Chicago in a neighborhood dubbed Terror Town, including gang and gun violence.
He released his debut mixtapes ‘Welcome to Fazoland’ and ‘Pistol P Project’ in 2014, both named after friends who had been killed in the city. His first album was 2017’s “Humble Beast,” and his latest is “Survivor’s Remorse,” released last year.
His 2020 album “PTSD” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
G Herbo also started a program in Chicago called Swervin’ Through Stress, aimed at giving the city’s youth tools to navigate mental health crises after publicly acknowledging his struggle with PTSD. In 2021 he was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 music list.
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