HONOLULU (AP) — A Florida man was sentenced Thursday to two months in jail and four months home confinement for his role in scamming the University of Hawaii out of $200,000 for a Stevie Wonder concert that never happened.
The university paid a $200,000 deposit in 2012 and began selling tickets before learning that neither Wonder nor his representatives authorized a show. The scam, dubbed the “Wonder Blunder,” humiliated the university and prompted investigations.
Sean Barriero pleaded guilty in 2012 to aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen property. Prosecutors say he created a fake document telling the university its money would be placed into an escrow account, when instead Barriero distributed the money to himself, co-defendant Marc Hubbard and others.
Barriero was facing a sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison, but a prosecutor asked for a lighter sentence because Barriero’s cooperation led Hubbard to plead guilty to wire fraud in 2016. Hubbard was sentenced earlier this month to nearly five years in prison.
The “cooperation is the reason there was no trial in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Wallenstein said. “It would have been a messy trial.”
Hubbard duped Barriero, who believed they could pull off the concert, and led him to believe he was in touch with Wonder’s management, Wallenstein said.
Barriero was misled and “put out to be the fall guy,” Wallenstein said.
Barriero’s federal public defender, Peter Wolff, asked for a sentence of home confinement.
“I am sorry for the embarrassment I helped cause the university,” Barriero said