Band frontman charged with fraud

By Greg Risling

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 25 2013 9:07 p.m. MST

LOS ANGELES — Robert Mawhinney gave the appearance that his fledgling band, Lights Over Paris, was successful. He enlisted rapper The Game for one of his videos, traveled around the world and had a customized tour bus emblazoned with the group's name on its side.

But federal prosecutors said Mawhinney's fortunes were built on fraud because he bilked more than $6 million in loans from banks by providing them fake documents that claimed he was a millionaire.

Authorities said Friday the 30-year-old singer was charged with making a false statement in a loan application and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. He's scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 11.

Over a nearly two-year period, beginning in August 2009, Mawhinney sought and obtained four loans from Comerica Inc. totaling about $6.2 million, according to court documents. He provided statements that claimed he had nearly $8 million in assets, but it turned out his account had only about $10,000, authorities said.

Loan officers even visited a recording studio in Burbank to determine if Mawhinney was creditworthy. There, the singer said he was a successful ghostwriter for various artists and sought the loans to finish a recording room in the studio, among other expenses, court documents show.

Prosecutors said Mawhinney attempted to pay off of some of his loans with proceeds he received from earlier payouts, but he eventually defaulted.

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