American Express Stock – Rapper ‘Chad Focus’ gets prison for stealing $4M to boost career
A wannabe rapper from Maryland was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for stealing more than $4 million from his employer as part of a scheme to boost his music career.
Chad Arrington, 33, who went by the stage name “Chad Focus,” used a company credit card to finance his dreams — including buying a billboard in Times Square and followers on social media, the Baltimore Sun reported.
At his sentencing on Wednesday, the Baltimore County man said he had failed his community, and that he was humiliated by publicity around his case.
“I did let down the city; I let down the youth,” he said.
Arrington worked as an SEO specialist for a subsidiary of Agora Publishing, a Baltimore-area media firm, when he started racking up charges on his company-issued American Express card, the report said.
Between January 2015 and August 2018, Arrington used the card to bankroll his aspiring hip-hop career and promote his own business, Focus Music Entertainment LLC.
Prosecutors said Arrington paid to artificially boost his song play counts on music streaming platforms and to purchase “likes,” “followers,” “tags” and “views” on social media.
He also bought billboards across the country — including one in Times Square branding him as the “#1 recording artist in the world.”
Another billboard read “I will teach you how to be rich” and promoted Arrington’s Instagram account, the newspaper reported.
To hide the fraudulent charges, prosecutors say Arrington forged his supervisor’s signature on the credit card statements and asked two co-conspirators to doctor some of the entries.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of federal wire fraud conspiracy in February 2020.
His plea calls for him to pay more than $4 million in restitution.