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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Monday, October 21, 2013

Frontman In Rock Band Sentenced To 7 Years In Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty In Multi-Million Dollar Loan Fraud Case

SANTA ANA, California – The singer in a Los Angeles-based rock band called Lights Over Paris was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison for submitting false documents to banks to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in loans, money that he used to fund his musical project and his lavish lifestyle.

Robert Brandon Mawhinney, 30, of Anaheim, was sentenced earlier today by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

Mawhinney pleaded guilty on April 22 to four counts of making false statements to federally insured banks and one count of money laundering. The very next day, according to prosecutors, Mawhinney made additional false statements to another financial institution in an attempt to obtain more credit – conduct that resulted in Judge Carney revoking his bond and remanding him into custody.

“For approximately three and a half years [Mawhinney] obtained and assisted others to obtain substantial loans from multiple banks through fraud,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed in court. “In order to obtain and maintain the loans, [the] defendant made myriad false statements to the victim banks and presented numerous false documents, including fabricated financial statements and tax returns bearing the forged signatures of identity-theft victims. Even [the] defendant’s family members’ documents weren’t safe; for instance, [Mawhinney] used his grandfather’s Schwab account statements to create some of the fraudulent statements showing inflated balances that he gave to the victim banks.”

Mawhinney, who used the stage name Robb “TaLLLLL” University, obtained more than $11 million in credit after applying for loans by submitting phony brokerage statements that falsely showed that he had almost $8 million in assets. The phony statements were altered versions of real statements from brokerage accounts that actually contained less than $10,000. Mawhinney told bank officials that he needed the money to fund his music business and to purchase recording equipment. According to investigators, Mawhinney used the money from the loans to pay for travel, entertainment and a luxury tour bus that cost well over $750,000. The victim banks were Comerica, JP Morgan Chase, Zions Bank and Bank of America.

Mawhinney “used the millions of dollars that he fraudulently obtained for the selfish purpose of funding his fantasy of being a rock star,” according to the government’s sentencing memo. Judge Carney said today that Mawhinney’s motives for the crimes were “ego and greed.”

In a related case, Mawhinney helped two associates fraudulently obtain more than $1.7 in loans for their music business.

When Mawhinney defaulted on his loans, the victim banks sustained actual losses of over $8.4 million. When his associates defaulted on their loans, lending institutions suffered losses of approximately $1.75 million. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS - Criminal Investigation.

Release No. 13-124

Updated June 22, 2015