Pop svengali Lou Pearlman, who is credited with starting the boy-band craze and launching the careers of the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync, has died in prison. The 62-year-old, who was serving a 25-year jail term for running a $300 million Ponzi fraud scheme, was recorded as having died on Friday in a prisons database. No cause of death was known although his lawyers said he had serious health problems when he was jailed in 2008. Chris Kirkpatrick, founding member of ‘NSync, said he had “mixed emotions right now”.
He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today [without] his influence
Former 'NSync member Lance Bass
Pearlman, who was based in Florida, made his name launching successful boybands, also including LFO and O-Town, in the 1990s. But by 2000 his acts - including Backstreet Boys, 'NSync and singer Aaron Carter - were turning on him, filing lawsuits claiming they had been ripped off. The law caught up with him in 2005 when his Ponzi scam was uncovered - he fled to Indonesia only to be returned to the U.S. When he was jailed in 2008, the judge said he would knock a month off his sentence for every million dollars he repaid. He never came up with a penny.