Chicago-area rap artist Herbert Wright, 25, artistic alias “G Herbo,” pleaded guilty Friday to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to a federal official.
From at least March 2017 through November 2018, Wright defrauded businesses and individuals nationwide by using stolen credit information to make expensive purchases, causing $139,878 in losses, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts explained in a release.
Only Wright’s direct actions have been admitted to; co-defendant and rap promoter Antonio Strong awaits trial and has pleaded not guilty. There are four other co-defendants, whose identities and current trial status were not specified in the USAO-MA release.
As part of his self-promotion on social media and in music videos, Wright moved to acquire a variety of luxury goods. These included charter flights on private jets costing over $80,000, rentals of a Cadillac Escalade, a Mercedes Benz 5560 and other luxury cars or “whips” costing over $34,000, and access to a Jamaican villa or “crib” that cost over $14,500.
Cars and a separate credit card for incidental costs for the villa were also requested by Wright. Mr. Strong is accused of using stolen credit card information to make these purchases.
In one text message Wright sent to Mr. Strong included in court documents, Wright instructed Mr. Strong to “Extend that whip bro that [expletive] ain’t for no month why you be lying […] You know it don’t be costing you [expletive] to do that [expletive] dude!”
Wright also pretended to be the purchasing customer in another instance, when two designer Yorkshire Terriers were bought from a business for over $10,000. The identity of the real buyer, alleged to be Mr. Strong, was concealed from said business.
When the actual cardholders discovered the charges, they disputed them with their credit card companies. When the charges were overturned, the companies back-charged the expenses to the vendor businesses and individuals, completing the fraud.
“Mr. Wright used stolen account information as his very own unlimited funding source, using victims’ payment cards to finance an extravagant lifestyle and advance his career. … This case should serve as a reminder that if you break the law, you will be prosecuted and held accountable – regardless of who you are,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Joshua Levy said in a statement.
In November 2018, Wright denied having a direct relationship with Mr. Strong to a federal agent, and further claimed to have never given Mr. Strong money, or to have received things of value alleged to have come from Mr. Strong.
Wright and the five co-defendants were indicted in December 2020, with the additional charges of false statements against Wright coming in May 2021.
When Wright is sentenced on Nov. 7, 2023, he faces up to 20 years in prison, up to five years of parole and a fine of up to $250,000 for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He also faces up to five years in prison, up to three years of parole and a fine of up to $250,000 for making false statements to a federal official.