U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg sentenced Octaveon Woods of Decatur, Illinois, to spend three years and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $879,718 or less. An exact amount will be determined in the next two weeks.
Woods addressed the court at his sentencing and apologized to the victims, his family and the judicial system for his actions.
Woods created and operated businesses to swindle dozens of victims out of money for concerts and comedy shows that never happened, prosecutors said. The victims included student groups at Emory University and the University of Missouri.
Woods crafted a professional-looking website and drafted complex contracts. He also used aliases to communicate, making clients think that the agency was a multi-person organization. He operated the scheme for years, at least as early as 2015, prosecutors said.
Woods would have clients wire him 50 percent of the booking cost as a deposit. When the performance didn't happen and clients demanded a refund, Woods would direct them to a bogus attorney and have them fill out additional paperwork. After receiving the money, Woods would transfer it to separate accounts and retrieve it as cash.
Woods pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud. He was released on bond in February but was arrested in May for violating bond conditions. He was still operating his scheme up until the point of his arrest, prosecutors said.
When Woods met with a probation officer in February, he gave them false information about his employment, prosecutors said. He said he was self-employed and worked with National Artist Agency before he was discharged for "fraudulent conduct." But prosecutors said that's one of the companies he created and that he had no legitimate employment during this time.
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