Norwegian Man Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Orchestrating Investment Scheme Involving Justin Bieber Ticket Sales
|FBI Los Angeles March 10, 2014|
LOS ANGELES—A Norwegian man who admitted to his role in a $1 million scheme in which he promised large returns for an investment that purportedly would be used to promote Justin Bieber concerts in Scandinavia was sentenced today to 11 years in federal prison, announced André Birotte Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles, and Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
United States Judge Philip S. Gutierrez sentenced Wahleed Ahmed, 22, of Norway, to 132 months in federal prison. Judge Gutierrez ordered that the prison term be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Gutierrez ordered Ahmed to make an immediate restitution payment of $1,001,505.50.
In September 2012, Ahmed was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud after being arrested by FBI agents at the San Francisco Airport. The complaint, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, alleged that Ahmed defrauded a victim investor in August 2012 by falsely representing that his company, Ahmed Enterprises, had signed a contract with singer Justin Bieber’s management company for exclusive rights to Bieber’s 2013 Scandinavian concerts.
The complaint alleged that the victim invested $1 million in Ahmed’s purported venture to secure venues for the Bieber concerts. Ahmed promised the victim investor that he would make a $9 million profit on his money in three months. To perpetrate this scheme, Ahmed presented himself as a successful entrepreneur from Norway who had invented solar-powered phone covers and said he was the founder of Gront Norge (Green Norway), a company Ahmed claimed had obtained multi-million-dollar contracts with large telecommunication companies. According to court documents, Ahmed used photographs with famous dignitaries, including the crown prince of Norway, Queen Rania of Jordan, and others, in order to lend credibility to his reputation as a shrewd investor.
During the scheme, Ahmed manufactured fraudulent contracts and insurance documents that appeared to be authentic but were not. Ahmed also purchased Internet domain names that looked similar to those of companies with whom he purportedly had the Bieber contracts. In August 2012, Ahmed convinced the victim investor to invest $1 million in order to secure venues for the Justin Bieber Tour and entered into a contractual agreement with the victim investor.
On September 27, 2012, Ahmed was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and on March 4, 2013, he pleaded guilty to the one count, admitting that he and co-conspirators in Norway had taken the victim investor’s money knowing that there was no contract for Justin Bieber tours and that the victim would lose his money.
The case against Ahmed was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Law enforcement officials in Norway and the FBI’s Copenhagen Legal Attaché provided considerable assistance during this investigation.
Ahmed was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).
- Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown: (213) 894-0102
- FBI Media Relations: (310) 996-3343