Lou Pearlman is on the lam, folks, and someone needs to do something about this. For those unaware, it has recently come to light that Pearlman, through some sort of elaborate scheme (the details of which I do not wish to elaborate on here), successfully bilked some 1400 people (many being senior citizens) out of an exorbitant sum of money. In this case, "exorbitant sum of money" means $317 million. Additionally, it seems that he was successful in stealing $150 million from banks. It is obviously highly unfortunate that such a con artist was able ruin so many people. Just adding the two totals listed earlier that he accumulated through his scams, we are looking at $467 million. However, I argue that this total severely underestimates how much he has swindled innocent people.
If you have read the linked article (or at least part of it), you are aware that Pearlman is responsible for the creation of such groups as the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. I truly don't believe we should overlook the damage that Pearlman did by introducing these atrocious acts to the US in particular, but the world in general. Let's face it, folks: these groups, and their cousin boy band groups, were horrendous. It is very comforting that at this point they seem like things of the past and will hopefully never again rise to prominence. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and there is likely a tiny minority who would defend these altogether weak groups as true musical talents, but there were people (including myself) calling these groups the hacks that they were during their heydays. So I think that it is completely legitimate to add to that $467 million that amount that Pearlman bilked out of consumers who wasted their money buying albums created by these hacks.
Some estimates suggest that the Backstreet Boys have sold somewhere on the order of 90 million albums. Let's play a game. We'll use what I think is a conservative estimate and say that those albums cost $5 each. Well, $5 multiplied by 90 million equals $450 million. That's nearly as much money as Pearlman cheated out of those 1400 people and those banks combined. (Here, of course, I use "nearly" in relative terms. A sum of $17 million is after all rather large.) Now, I can't find totals for 'N Sync record sales, but sadly, I believe the total was not insignificant (meaning that the total was more than zero). However, I failed to mention that Pearlman had a hand in the formation of other groups such as O-Town and LFO. This amount of evidence should already be enough, but I do believe I would be remiss if I did not point out that Pearlman is ultimately responsible for introducing the horror that is Aaron Carter. So please, let's not underestimate the damage that this man has done, which I contend that people are currently doing.