How Lou Pearlman, the Boy Band Mogul, Died of a Heart Infection

Lou Pearlman was a famous and controversial figure in the music industry. He was the man behind some of the most successful boy bands of the 1990s, such as Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. He was also a convicted fraudster who ran one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history, defrauding investors of more than $300 million. He died in prison in 2016, at the age of 62. But what was the cause of his death? How did he end up in jail? And what was his legacy in the pop culture?

Lou Pearlman’s Rise and Fall in the Music Business

Lou Pearlman was born and raised in New York City, in a Jewish family. He was a cousin of the singer Art Garfunkel, whose fame and wealth inspired him to pursue a career in the music business. He started as a manager of a local band, but soon switched to aviation, where he launched a helicopter taxi service and a blimp company. He moved to Orlando, Florida, in the late 1980s, where he became interested in the boy band scene. He formed and funded the Backstreet Boys in 1993, and then NSYNC in 1995, using his connections and resources to promote them. He also created other groups, such as O-Town, LFO, and Take 5. He became known as the “Big Poppa” of the boy band industry, earning millions of dollars from record sales, merchandising, and touring.

However, Pearlman’s success was built on deception and exploitation. He was accused of cheating the artists he managed, by taking a large share of their profits, imposing strict contracts, and controlling their creative decisions. He also faced allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from some of the band members and aspiring singers. He was sued by several of his acts, including Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, who claimed that he had robbed them of their rightful earnings. He settled the lawsuits out of court, but his reputation was tarnished.

Lou Pearlman’s Ponzi Scheme and Prison Sentence

Pearlman’s music empire was also a cover for a massive Ponzi scheme, which he had been running since the 1980s. He had created a fake company called Trans Continental Airlines, which he used to lure investors with promises of high returns. He claimed that the company owned a fleet of airplanes and had contracts with major airlines. He also showed them fake financial statements and bank accounts, which he had forged with the help of his associates. He used the money from the new investors to pay off the old ones, and to fund his lavish lifestyle and music projects. He also borrowed money from banks, using the same fraudulent documents.

The scheme collapsed in 2006, when the authorities discovered that Trans Continental Airlines did not exist, and that Pearlman had defrauded more than 1,700 investors of nearly $300 million. He was also in debt to several banks and creditors, who had filed lawsuits against him. He fled the country, and was eventually captured in Bali, Indonesia, in 2007, after being recognized by a tourist who had seen his picture on the FBI website. He was extradited to the US, where he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements during a bankruptcy proceeding. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, in 2008. He agreed to cooperate with the authorities, in exchange for a reduced sentence. He also expressed remorse for his actions, and apologized to his victims.

Lou Pearlman’s Cause of Death and Legacy

Pearlman died in prison, in 2016, while serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, Florida. According to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner, the cause of his death was cardiac arrest, which was triggered by an infection of the inner lining of his heart. He had a condition that prevented his heart valve from fully opening, and he had undergone surgery to have it replaced. However, he contracted an infection after the operation, which proved fatal.

Pearlman’s death elicited mixed reactions from the public and the music industry. Some of his former artists, such as Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass, expressed sadness and condolences, while others, such as Aaron Carter and Ashley Parker Angel, celebrated his demise and called him a monster. His Ponzi scheme victims also had different opinions, some feeling relieved, and others feeling cheated of justice. His life and crimes were the subject of several documentaries, books, and podcasts, which explored his personality, motives, and impact. He was also portrayed by actors in various films and TV shows, such as The Boy Band Con, The Lou Pearlman Story, and The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Lou Pearlman was a complex and controversial figure, who left behind a legacy of both success and scandal. He was a visionary and a villain, a mentor and a manipulator, a mogul and a fraudster. He was responsible for creating some of the most popular and influential pop groups of all time, but he also betrayed and abused them. He was a mastermind of one of the biggest and longest-running Ponzi schemes in history, but he also cooperated with the law and expressed regret. He died of a heart infection, but he also broke many hearts along the way. He was a paradox, a mystery, and a legend. He was Lou Pearlman, the boy band mogul.

Doms Desk

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