Lou Pearlman, the producer who launched the hit 1990s boy band groups Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, has died in prison while serving a 25-year sentence for bilking investors of $300 million.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons said the disgraced businessman died on Friday, providing no other details. He was 62.
Inspired by the success of the boy band New Kids on the Block, Pearlman recruited a group of unknowns to form the Backstreet Boys, which soared to stardom in 1996, becoming one of the best-selling boy bands of all-time.
The group sold more than 130 million records, its website says.
Some members of Pearlman’s other bands, including Justin Timberlake of NSYNC and Britney Spears, went on to achieve major stardom with solo careers.
But Pearlman was convicted in 2008 of fraud and cheating investors — including friends and family — out of more than $300 million through Ponzi and bank-fraud schemes that lasted two decades.
I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) August 21, 2016
Hundreds of lawsuits were filed in the mogul’s case, including one by the Backstreet Boys.
He had been serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas.
Timberlake tweeted Sunday that he hoped Pearlman had “found some peace.”
Lance Bass, another former NSYNC member, tweeted, “He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today (without) his influence. RIP Lou.”
Pearlman was born to Jewish parents in Flushing, NY, in 1954. He credited his interest in the music industry to Art Garfunkel, his first cousin.
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