Wu-Tang Clan imposters scammed Atlanta businesses out of more than $100,000

Scammers recruited local homeless people to pretend to be security for the "fake rappers" in efforts to authenticate the swindle

Raekwon, with RZA on back right, of the Wu-Tang Clan performs during a party to celebrate the release of their new album “Iron Flag” at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Some thieves fronting as members of the Wu-Tang Clan scammed several posh Atlanta hotels, car rentals and studios out of more than $100,000.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta claims the men, Walker Washington and Aaron Barnes-Burpo, told hotel workers they were with Roc Nation. At least one of these hotels says the crew referred to themselves as members of the Wu, reported Billboard. Washington and Barnes-Burpo are facing conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

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The men allegedly pulled up to the hotels in a Rolls Royce Phantom, which was rented from A-National Limousine. That company also reported a loss of nearly $60,000. And prosecutors say both men also skipped out on paying two Atlanta recording studios, a loss of more than $17,000, the criminal complaint states.

Atlanta’s Georgian Terrace Hotel was reportedly left with a $45,000 unpaid bill and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta reportedly was left with a $39,000 unpaid bill, according to Billboard.

The scheme ended at a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta, Georgia. Billboard reported the men booked 10 rooms at the hotel, claiming to be for an artist and his entourage. The reservation was made listing Roc Nation and the Wu-Tang Clan, prosecutors said. However, a staff member grew suspicious and contacted Roc Nation and was told the company had not booked the rooms and was not affiliated with the men.

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When Barnes-Burpo showed up to check-in, Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were waiting for him. He and others were detained, including two men who told police they were homeless and living in Atlanta when they were recruited by the suspects to serve as bodyguards. A few other people in the group traveling with them were not charged.

Billboard checked court records in an attempt to contact attorneys for Barnes-Burpo and Washington, but none were listed.