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Rapper G Herbo charged in fraud plot to buy trips, puppies

·2 min read

BOSTON — The rapper G Herbo, his promoter and others have been charged in a scheme to use stolen credit card information to pay for trips on private jets, exotic car rentals, luxury vacation rentals and designer puppies.

G Herbo, who was named this week to Forbes' 30 under 30 list; Antonio Strong, a Chicago music promoter and manager; and several associates were charged in federal court in Massachusetts with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft.

Strong, whom a judge called the ringleader of the $1.5 million fraud scheme, also faces a wire fraud charge.

Others charged include Joseph Williams — another Chicago rapper known as “Joe Rodeo" and “Rockstar Rodie.”

Court documents were unsealed this week, less than a month after G Herbo, whose real name is Herbert Wright III, appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon to perform the song “PTSD” with Chance the Rapper.

An email seeking comment was sent to a lawyer for G Herbo on Thursday. No lawyers were identified in court documents for the other defendants. No hearings have been scheduled.

Authorities say Strong, G Herbo and the others used text messages, social media messages and emails to share account information taken from dark websites in order to bankroll a lavish lifestyle.

In one case, Strong ordered two designer puppies for G Herbo using a stolen credit card and fake Washington state driver's license, according to the indictment.

When the Michigan pet shop asked to confirm the purchase with G Herbo, Strong directed him to do so through an Instagram message, and he did, authorities said. The stolen credit card information was then used to arrange for a car service to pick up the puppies from the pet shop and take them to Chicago, according to the indictment.

Strong also used stolen account information to pay for chartered jets to fly G Herbo and others from Chicago to places like Austin, Texas, and a private villa in Jamaica for G Herbo, authorities said. The scheme also included fraudulent payments for commercial airline flights, private chef and security guard services and and limousine rides, authorities said.

G Herbo released his debut mix tapes “Welcome to Fazoland” and “Pistol P Project” in 2014, both of them named for friends who had been killed in Chicago.

Over his career, G Herbo has detailed his experiences on the far east side of Chicago in a neighbourhood dubbed “Terror Town,” covering topics including post-traumatic stress, gun violence, drug use and sales, and most recently fatherhood.

G Herbo recently started a program in Chicago called Swervin' Through Stress aimed to give urban youths tools to navigate mental health.

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Associated Press writer Joshua Housing in Munster, Indiana, contributed to this report.

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press