BALTIMORE — A federal grand jury has indicted a Randallstown rapper on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and identity theft, alleging that he used a company credit card to make more than $4.1 million in unauthorized purchases.
According to the indictment, 31-year-old Chad Arrington, A.K.A. "Chad Focus," was employed by a company as a Search Engine Optimization Specialist from around 2011 to August 2018.
To do his job, which was to promote and market the company's products and services online, Arrington was issued an American Express company credit card that he agreed to only use for business expenses.
From at least January 2015 through August 2018, Arrington and four co-conspirators allegedly used the credit card for fraudulent purchases, for their own benefit, and to promote the Chad Focus brand.
Arrington is accused of using the credit card to make more than $1.5 million in unauthorized purchases from entities and accounts controlled by two co-conspirator's in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.
One example in the indictment mentions how Arrington used the card to buy studio kits, instruments, and music technology to create his Chad Focus alter ego and produce a number of hip-hop songs through his own company, Focus Music Entertainment LLC.
He also reportedly made purchases from online streaming platforms that offered payed services to increase the chances of his songs being played by creating more "likes",“followers,” “tags,” and “views” on social media.
Additionally, Arrington fraudulently invested in services that promoted his mix tape videos, and music, even going as far to pay for billboards to be displayed nationwide with his website and image, representing Chad Focus and Music Entertainment.
$250,000 in other purchases were made in relation to a bike-sharing business including electric bikes, hover boards, and scooters.
To hide the scheme, Arrington allegedly asked a co-conspirator to use computer software to enter false credit card billing statements to conceal the payments from his supervisor. Arrington would also forge the supervisor's signature to make it look like he received approval for certain purchases when he hadn't. Arrington then sent those false payment authorizations to other employees who relied on them to pay off the outstanding credit card balance.
If convicted, Arrington faces up to 22 years behind bars. He is being held pending a June 7 detention hearing scheduled for 2:00 p.m.