A Portland-area musician who frequently plays shows in Bellingham has been arrested on charges he raised more than $525,000 for fictitious music projects including one that purportedly involved Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Jack White.
Kasey Anderson of Vancouver, Wash., the guitarist and frontman for the Portland-based alt-country band Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, surrendered to federal officials in Seattle on Tuesday, Jan. 29, to face wire fraud charges.
Federal prosecutors say Anderson raised money for an album called "Trapped Like a Ghost," to benefit the "West Memphis Three," three men who were convicted of murder in 1994. They say he told investors that many famous musicians had agreed to contribute tracks, and that he fabricated emails supposedly from Springsteens manager.
In 2009, according to the complaint unsealed Tuesday and a search warrant served in December for Anderson's email accounts, Anderson convinced two groups totaling about 30 investors to give him more than $525,000 for the project. No album was produced and nearly $370,000 was lost, according to the charges.
The charges allege that Anderson had met some of the investors after they had helped him fund a successful European tour with The Honkies. In his original offering memorandum, he said he had confirmed participation from Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, the Foo Fighters, Johnny Depp and others, The Seattle Times reported.
Prosecutors say he has repaid $160,000 of the money. Some of the investors sued Anderson in court in Portland.
Anderson made an initial appearance at U.S. District Court in Seattle Tuesday. He did not enter a plea. He was released pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 19 in federal court in Tacoma, although it is likely he will be indicted by a grand jury before that.
Andersons attorney, Corey Endo of the federal public defender's office, said her client had no comment.
Wire fraud is a federal felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.