The con man who robbed Backstreet Boys and NSYNC Blind

by Ana Lopez

If you were a teenager in the late 1990s to early 2000s, you couldn’t escape the appeal of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.

The boy bands were a cultural phenomenon, influencing fashion and music trends and shaping the sound of pop music for a generation. Backstreet Boys sold 130 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling boy bands of all time, with NSYNC following closely behind with 70 million records sold.

The man behind the bands was a larger than life character named Lou Pearlman – literally, he was said to weigh about 330 pounds.

Initially a hot air balloon salesman (we’re not kidding), Pearlman went on to become one of the most successful talent managers and record producers of all time, casting and training the biggest boy bands in the world.

Photo by Mark Weiss/WireImage

Pearlman was said to have a net worth of over $300 million at the height of his success – until it all came crashing down like the Hindenburg. Pearlman died penniless in prison in 2016.

Related: These con artists, con artists, and barely legal lowlifes will stop at nothing to make their millions

In the latest episode of businessupdates.org’s new podcast, Dirty Money, editors Dan Bova and Jon Small tell the lurid story of the Boy Band Bandit. How did Pearlman become so successful and where did it go so wrong?

They are joined by Lou Pearlman expert Tyler Gray, who wrote the definitive book on Pearlman The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Largest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History

Listen to the podcast here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

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