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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 25, 2021

Chicago Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraudulent Concert Scheme

Had Three Previous Convictions for Federal Fraud Offenses

A man who fraudulently solicited artist booking deposits and other expenses for concerts that never occurred was sentenced on October 20, 2021, to more than six years in federal prison.  Romel Murphy, age 43, from Chicago, Illinois, received the prison term after a January 8, 2021 guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.

Information from a plea agreement and at sentencing showed that Murphy operated a talent booking agency that ostensibly booked artists for performances at concert venues around the United States.  From about November 2017 through March 2019, Murphy used his business to induce potential clients to send him funds to secure artists’ performances at concerts.  For instance, Murphy sent signed contracts to victims that appeared to have come from the artists.  In fact, Murphy had drafted and signed the contracts himself.  The victim would sign the contracts and wire deposit funds to Murphy.  Murphy did not send the money to the artists and converted the funds to his own use, including gambling.  As the concert dates approached and the victims had advertised the concerts, the victims would discover that the artists had not received any funds, frequently through communications from the artists’ actual representatives.  In total, Murphy defrauded his victims out of more than $410,000.  Murphy had three prior convictions for federal fraud-related offenses.  He committed two of those offenses while on federal supervised release.           

Murphy was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Murphy was sentenced to 77 months’ imprisonment.  He was ordered to make $414,433.23 in restitution to the victims of his offense.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Murphy was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyndra Lundquist and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 20-CR-0006.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated October 25, 2021