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Meet The ‘Rock Star’ Who Swindled Banks Out Of $11 Million So His Band Could Suck

By / 01.09.14

Lights over paris

Chances are that if you’ve heard of the elctrosynthpoprockpoppyrockpop band Lights Over Paris, you’ve either paid really close attention to the news over the last few years or you’re (more likely) one of the 1.4 million people who have watched the band’s mildly-popular single, “Turn Off the Lights,” on YouTube, possibly while wondering why a band named Lights Over Paris would have a song entitled, “Turn Off the Lights.”

Poor name choices aside, I hadn’t heard of Lights Over Paris and especially the band’s frontman, Robert Mawhinney, until ABC’s 20/20 revealed his hard-partying ways and the band’s bullet train path to the top. But if that’s the case, why haven’t we heard more of Lights Over Paris and Mawhinney? Oh, because he’s serving seven years in prison for scamming $11 million from four different banks so he and his band could travel the country and throw massive parties in rental homes while playing “sold out” shows for 10s of people.

Seriously, if you’re starting a band and you want to make it big… watch this video and do the exact opposite.

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I think my favorite part of this story – and it’s really so hard to pick just one thing – is how he skipped what was supposed to be his band’s biggest gig to date – a show at the Roxy in Los Angeles that could have possibly given LOP a huge boost if they had, you know, marketed the concert – for his high school reunion, and the DJ that he hired to replace him was served a subpoena for Mawhinney. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s ROB TALLLLLLLLLL. What happened to you, rock-n-roll?

Meanwhile, here’s “Turn Off the Lights,” in which Mawhinney looks like a hilarious Ben Stiller character.


TAGS20/20ABCBANKSCON ARTISTSFRAUDSLIGHTS OVER PARISROB MAWHINNEYrock starswannabe rock stars

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