Lou Pearlman, ’90s Boy-Band Manager and Convicted Ponzi Scheme Mastermind, Dead at 62

World Premiere of
Photo: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Lou Pearlman, 62, the music manager who created the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, died on Friday night. Though he was a master at combining personalities, voices, and handsome faces to create some of the biggest music acts of the ’90s, he gained notoriety for his shady money dealings. In 2008, Pearlman was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements after authorities discovered that he had defrauded investors out of $300 million over 20 years with fake businesses in a Ponzi scheme. Before being sent to prison, the Backstreet Boys and several of the other bands Pearlman managed sued him for mismanaged funds — the BSB cases involved the mogul making millions off the singers at the height of their popularity, while they only took home $300,000. During their documentary Backstreet Boys: Show ’Em What You’re Made Of, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, and the rest of the crew visited Pearlman’s home and were clearly still distraught, years later, by the betrayal. Before Pearlman’s music dealings came to an end, he also created O-Town, LFO, Take 5, and girl-group Innosense. Pearlman died in prison during the eighth year of his 25-year sentence.

Lou Pearlman, ’90s Boy-Band Manager, Dead at 62