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Billy Preston Indicted in Alleged Insurance Scam

Grammy-winning singer-keyboardist Billy Preston was indicted along with his ex-manager and five other people in an alleged $1-million insurance fraud conspiracy, the district attorney announced Monday.

Preston, 52, has been in prison since November on an unrelated drug conviction.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Cabral said the fraud indictment was unsealed Monday, when most of the defendants appeared in court for the first time.

The indictment, handed down Oct. 29 by the county grand jury, alleges that Preston and the others set fire to their own residences and staged burglaries and auto crashes to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance since 1991.

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Charged along with Preston are his former manager, Merle Otis Greene, 52, and Greene’s wife, Sandra, 49, of Los Angeles; Nathaniel Johnson, 70, of Lancaster; Roger Gabriel Franklin, 38, and Debra Anne Franklin, 31, of Altadena, and Henry Sylvester Sloan, 41, of Los Angeles.

Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.

Preston built a reputation as a studio musician, backing the Beatles on the single “Get Back” and the album “Let It Be.” In the early ‘70s, he had hits of his own with “Outa Space” and “Will It Go Round in Circles.”


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