Pitchfork has a story for you about someone who was so full of greed and hubris that he decided to scam his company of millions of dollars to artificially advance his “music career”. In an attempt to make it big and become the next R&B/dance artist superstar, a man named Chad Arrington (stage name: Chad Focus) is accused of committing several federal crimes and now could spend 20 years in prison.
Chad is from Baltimore, where he makes music that you’ve likely not heard of, unless maybe you’re reading this from the Baltimore area. His song “Dance With Me” did make it onto the Billboard Dance Club Songs. Here’s the song and video:
My only thought is that he’s wearing a We The North t-shirt in the video and like… isn’t that a Toronto thing? So what does he have to do with Canada? Obviously there’s a lot going on with Chad.
Chad worked as a Search Engine Optimization Specialist, which just meant he was good at getting traffic to websites, like getting you in Google or whatever. And I guess he decided that because he was doing that for other people, why not do that for his music career? Which–listen–I’m not hating on. Apply those skills! Use those connections! Network! But where Chad went left is when he allegedly started to steal from the company.
On May 29th, a federal grand jury indicted him for a ton of things you don’t want to get indicted with. Not that there’s a good indictment. He was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravate identity theft–which could get him a maximum of 20 years if he’s convicted.
The feds say that Chad and four unnamed co-conspirators went HAM on a company-issued American Express. They allegedly spent $4.1 million between January 2015 and August 2018. Chad himself is accused of using company money to:
“Promote his music, purchase audio equipment, artificially increase plays on Spotify and other streaming services, purchase followers and views for his social media platforms…”
If he bought his followers, he needs his money back because he’s only got like 13k on Instagram. That won’t get you a FlatTummy Tea endorsement! And Chad also allegedly used the company card to buy a billboard in Times Square and others throughout the country.
The bizarre and enormous Times Square billboard for CHAD FOCUS, “#1 ARTIST IN THE WORLD” pic.twitter.com/aa9sx1piJG
— Alex Weinberg (@_alexweinberg) October 17, 2018
And because he’s a businessman, he has his hand in many jars–all artists have the side hustle for the millions. Chad is also accused of spending more than $250,000 of company money related to a bike-sharing business. Oh, and of course he bought some luxuries for himself like concert tickets, traveling, nightlife expenses…
Chad and all four of his buddies are also accused of funneling payments to one another. And Chad and two of the other four are accused of hiding their crimes by falsifying credit card statements which the company would review. Chad allegedly forged a supervisor’s signature “multiple times” to make it look like he had permission for the spending, so other employees at the company would pay off the balance.
Welp. I’m glad that Chad allegedly spent millions of stolen dollars to get his career off the ground because it really worked. I mean, sure the first time he’s really mentioned in the headlines is for the stolen millions, but I mean….. mission accomplished, right?