Producer Convicted In Ponzi Scheme

Charles Huggins, a music producer who claimed to have worked with stars including Whitney Houston and Kenny G, was convicted Oct. 9 of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

A judge ordered Huggins held at least until his January sentencing, saying he is a flight risk because of his foreign bank accounts and ties to high-level government officials in Africa.

Huggins, once married to singer Melba Moore, was accused of swindling about 30 investors of some $4 million between 2008 and Sept. 2011 by guaranteeing a successful investment in mining gold and diamonds in Africa.

Ex-NFL player Ken Hamlin says he was one of Huggins’ victims. Instead of investing in mining operations, Huggins and others channeled the money to his Orpheus record label and to pay personal expenses, including Huggins’ $7,200 monthly apartment rent, upkeep of his Mercedes Benz, restaurant tabs, clothing and credit card bills, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Defense attorney Bryan Blaney told jurors Huggins had a fourth-grade education and had done work for Houston when she was recording her first album.

Anne Thomas, Huggins’ longtime secretary, testified that Orpheus had done work for Kenny G in the 1970s.

Each of the two counts Huggins was convicted on carry maximum potential penalties of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the fraud.