A judge in Guam may have sealed some of Lou Pearlman’s financial records during a hearing on the island June 18th, which would keep them from being used in a pending criminal case.
Pearlman, who was on the lam since a federal probe began in January, was arrested in Indonesia June 14th after he was found staying at a hotel booked under the name "Incognito Johnson." He was turned over to U.S. authorities and flown to Guam to appear before Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.
During the hearing, Pearlman reportedly requested that the court appoint him a lawyer, and was asked by Tydingco-Gatewood to provide financial documentation to back up his request.
But fearing self-incrimination in a pending bank fraud case, Pearlman initially refused the judge’s demand to see his financial statements, according to court documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
The judge later viewed the information privately per the request of Public Defender Richard Arens, and may have sealed the documents so they could not be used in the fraud case, the paper said.
Pearlman has been accused by Florida financial regulators of running a giant Ponzi scheme through his company, Trans Continental Airlines, allegedly swindling investors out of $317 million and banks out of an additional $130 million. While various civil filings have been brought against him, the criminal bank fraud charge, originally filed in March, was unsealed last week after Pearlman’s arrest.
Several banks apparently loaned money to Trans Continental based on documentation that looked genuine. That included financial information from a Florida certified public accountancy that was allegedly fabricated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marivic P. David wrote in a memo to the judge that the court should be allowed to review Pearlman’s financial statements to determine whether he is in fact entitled to the use of a public defender, the Sentinel reported.
"In this case, defendant Pearlman should not be allowed to shield information about his assets from the court," David wrote.
"The government’s goal is not to force the defendant to make statements that may be used against him later – such as prosecution for perjury or false statements – or during other appropriate circumstances…. Its goal rather is to prevent the defendant from manipulating the system."
Pearlman also reportedly asked that the judge grant him temporary liberty before his return to the U.S. during the court appearance, although his request was denied when authorities called him a flight risk.
The boy-band kingpin will be transported from Guam back to the U.S. within the next 10 days, and return to Florida to face the fraud charge soon after.