After nearly six months off the radar, former boy band mogul Lou Pearlman was arrested in Indonesia on Thursday, where FBI officials took him into custody.
Authorities have been seeking Pearlman in the midst of an investigation into allegations that he was behind a bogus investment scheme that defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and banks out of an additional $150 million. According to the Orlando Sentinel, authorities in Indonesia expelled Pearlman and then turned him over to U.S. authorities.
“We are aware that he is in the custody of the FBI, I can’t comment beyond that,” Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, told the paper.
The arrest comes just days after thousands of items from Pearlman’s Trans Continental empire were auctioned in Florida to help raise money to pay back some of the allegedly defrauded investors (see “’NSYNC, Backstreet Boys Relics To Be Sold In Lou Pearlman Auction” ); only $200,000 from the sale of boy-band memorabilia, office furniture and plane parts was rung up at the auction.
Pearlman, who once managed the Backstreet Boys and ’NSYNC (see “Backstreet Boys Sue Former Manager — Again” ), was being flown to the U.S. territory of Guam at press time to make his initial appearance before a judge, the Sentinel reported.
Pearlman has been out of the country since January, when he left Orlando to reportedly accompany his latest boy band, US5, to Europe for a tour just as his once-massive empire was falling apart amid the bank-fraud allegations. While he was out of the U.S., involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against him and his dozens of companies went forward, as did a federal criminal probe and a number of lawsuits from the more than 1,000 investors who were allegedly cheated.
The paper reported that Pearlman mailed a letter to an Orlando attorney in early February that had a return address in Indonesia.