scams

The Ataris’ Ex-Bassist Allegedly Masterminded a $27 Million Real-Estate Scam

It’s about to be a cold winter for this boy of summer. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Today in crucial updates on music that mattered in 2003: A member of that one band popular for a Don Henley cover may have turned to a life of crime, running a national real-estate scam that stole millions. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the Ataris’ former bassist Michael Davenport was indicted last month on federal conspiracy and fraud charges that allege he masterminded an online telemarketing real-estate scam that lost 100,000 people a whopping total of $27 million between 2009 and 2016. Both Davenport and his associate Cynthia Rawlinson allegedly operated the scam under various company names, but mostly did their dirty work as a fake business called American Standard, which placed ads on Craigslist promising to show “pre-foreclosure” houses for sale at below-market prices.

The catch: Prospective buyers would have to pay a $199 fee to get the full listing, which they would later find out wasn’t real. Some customers even got manipulated into taking over entire mortgage payments, thinking they were purchasing the home. Refunds were, of course, never provided. According to the indictment, Davenport owned American Standard and ran the scam, while Rawlinson was employed as a salesperson and, later, a sales manager. The FBI raided their offices in 2016; both Davenport and Rawlinson face more than 30 years in prison. So while Davenport had moderate fame in the early aughts with the Ataris for their “Boys of Summer” cover, it’s possible he won’t see another summer (or any other season) for many, many years.

Ex-Bassist Allegedly Ran a $27 Million Real-Estate Scam