Del Silva faces up to eight years in prison
In doing his best Bernie Madoff impersonation, Los Angeles based guitarist and all around scum bag Marino Del Silva has recently admitted to a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme in which he pretty much conned dozens of investors into paying for albums that never appeared as expected. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.
According to This is Hull, the UK-born musician regularly tricked investors by claiming that he was producing rare and valuable unheard recordings from Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles only to later come up short.
Reports from the victims state that Del Silva would describe himself as an “international multi-platinum award-winning guitarist,” who – along with winning a Grammy – was close friends with Keith Richards and spent his time producing charity CDs. As it turns out, Del Silva never passed the promised amount of cash to charities.
Yes, I know – what is this world coming to when we can’t even trust a man that no one knows but claims to have a Grammy and knows a Rolling Stone?!
According to several victims, Del Silva would come to them with investment opportunities but once they handed over the check, it was pretty much impossible to track the money. Even worse, when the recordings he promised actually did materialize, they were of poor quality and not of the promised artist.
Staying true to the classic bootleg that is a Ponzi Scheme, Del Silva would use the cash from new investors to pay off – in small portions – what he owed his older clients, keeping most for himself in the process. Enough it seems to pay for his reported $2 million mansion.
And if taking money from people for tracks that he didn’t have and tricking them into thinking he was going to give the profits to charity isn’t enough to earn him a lifetime “filth of humanity” award, one of the victims was actually a childhood friend of his.
“He was living in a mansion and there was no question he had done well,” said Mike Dawson, the former friend of Del Silva who was conned out of $38,000. “He asked if I wanted to come on board with one of his ventures. He told me he had some Beatles tracks and he was going to digitally remaster them.”
But when it was time for Del Silva to produce some of the promised material, it wasn’t John Lennon or Paul McCartney on the tracks but shoddy cover versions including some recorded by the thief himself.
“I feel like an idiot now because it’s so implausible – but he was a mate,” admitted Dawson. “To be betrayed by a childhood friend is annoying. It seems he’s been using charitable foundations as fronts and simply living the high life without paying his investors back.”
Well, the good news in all this is that Del Silva, who was arrested back in February after trying to flee Nevada once investigators were closing in, has now been sentenced to a prison term no shorter than three years after admitting the fraudulent sale of securities.
Although this is a truly infuriating case with plenty of victims involved, maybe you shouldn’t trust just anyone who claims to have a Grammy and knows Keith Richards – even though he’s British.