Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman dies at 62 while serving time for fraud

Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync founder Lou Pearlman, dead at 62

LOS ANGELES, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Lou Pearlman, a former music mogul who launched the careers of boy bands the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, died on Friday at age 62 while serving a 25-year prison sentence for swindling investors and banks out of more than $300 million, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said on its web site.

The cause of death was not immediately clear and a representative for the Bureau of Prisons could not be reached for comment late on Saturday.

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In 2010, Pearlman suffered a stroke while behind bars, according to media reports.

After running a business operating blimps, Pearlman started a record label, guiding the 1990s-era Backstreet Boys, whose hits included "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)," and NSYNC, known for such songs as "This I Promise You" and "I Want You Back."

See photos of Lou Pearlman:

Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman dies at 62
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Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman dies at 62
MIAMI - JUNE 06: Lou Pearlman poses with N'Sync Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Lance Bass,, Joey Fatone and Justin Timberlake seen at N.Y.P.D. pizza in Miami, circa 1996. (Photo by Mark Weiss/WireImage)
Lou Pearlman, the man behind the Backstreet Boys and NSync, at a launch party for boy band O-Town, whom he manages, at Planet Hollywood in London.
MIAMI - JUNE 06: Lou Pearlman pose with N'Sync Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake seen at the N.Y.P.D. Pizza in Miami, circa 1996. (Photo by Mark Weiss/WireImage)
Lou Pearlman (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
(Original Caption) O-Town poses with their producer Lou Pearlman. L-R: Ashley Parker Angel, Dan Miller, Lou Pearlman, Trevor Penick, Erik-Michael Estrada and Jacob Underwood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Bob Carey x75451 ÂÂ A new ABC series about the band O Town is a blend of MTV reality series, the Real World and The Monkeys ÂÂ8 kids live together and try start a band, camera tracks their experiences. They are at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Lou Pearlman, center, stands in themiddle of the band. From lower left, clockwise, are Ashley Parker Angel, Bryan Chan, Treavor Penick, Mike Miller, Ikaka Kahoano, ErikÂMichael Estrada, Jacob Underwood and Paul Martin. (Photo by Bob Carey/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
U.S. Marshals escort music mogul Lou Pearlman, second from right, to the George C. Young federal courthouse in downtown Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, July 11, 2007. Pearlman is scheduled to appear in court to answer to three counts of bank fraud and one count each of mail and wire fraud involving loans worth $20 million from an Indiana bank. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)

The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC were two of the most successful male vocal groups of the 1990s, appealing to teen audiences with carefully constructed harmonies. NSYNC co-lead singer Justin Timberlake has gone on to a successful solo career.

Pearlman's relationships with the boy bands he helped launch eventually faltered, with most of them, including the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, suing him for fraud, according to Billboard.

Former NSYNC member Lance Bass, who has appeared in television shows and films since NSYNC disbanded, said in a tribute on Twitter:

"He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn't be doing what I love today (without) his influence."

Pearlman lived a lifestyle marked by mansions and luxury cars and engaged in questionable business pursuits far afield from music before his fraud scheme collapsed.

He admitted in a 2008 plea agreement to, over two decades, enticing individuals and banks to invest millions of dollars in two fraudulent companies that, on paper at least, were described as being in the airline industry.

He won investors' confidence with fake financial statements created by a fictitious accounting firm.

He was sentenced in 2008 to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to four criminal counts: two of conspiracy involving bank and investor fraud, one of money laundering and one of making false claims in a bankruptcy.

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