Lou Pearlman lived large, and the 2007 junket that kept him out of the law's reach for five months was no exception. He traveled thousands of miles and spent most of his time holed up in luxury resorts.
"The American Express bills were astronomical," FBI agent Scott Skinner said. He said Pearlman used credit cards belonging to two friends, Michael Johnson and John Regna, then scrambled to get money to them when the bills came due.
"He sent e-mails to people begging for money," Skinner said.
And he never stopped scheming.
Pearlman tried to raise $1-million by selling one of his companies' interest in Trans Con Mobile LLC, a cellular wireless company in Israel. He flew to Hong Kong to do the deal with an Israeli buyer, but only one of the buyer's installment payments, for $350,000, got through. Pearlman's creditors got wind of the deal and persuaded a bankruptcy judge to freeze a $250,000 payment. Since then, bankruptcy trustee Soneet Kapila has brokered his own deal with the buyer.
Pearlman also was still trying to get mileage out of a phony German bank, German Invest und Finanzberatung GmbH. "He was working on a German Savings Bank seal and logo when he was caught," Skinner said.
Pearlman's longest side trip was a cross-Atlantic venture to check out his prospects for Panamanian citizenship. He may have hoped the country would provide shelter from creditors and U.S. law enforcement. Apparently his bank account wasn't fat enough to merit a welcome mat.
Pearlman traveled under his own passport, but used the unusual alias "Incognito Johnson" when he registered at his hotel in Bali. The U.S. Marshals Service provided the trip home. When he returned to Orlando, he'd made a complete trip around the globe.