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Music

Lou Pearlman, disgraced Backstreet Boys and NSync impresario, dies at 62

Lou Pearlman dies
Lou Pearlman, center, stands in the middle of O-Town in 2000. Clockwise from lower left: Ashley Parker Angel, Bryan Chan, Treavor Penick, Mike Miller, Ikaka Kahoano, Erik-Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood and Paul Martin.
(Los Angeles Times)

Lou Pearlman, the disgraced music impresario who launched the Backstreet Boys, NSync and other boy bands in the 1990s before being convicted in a Ponzi scheme, has died at 62, according to the prison where Pearlman was serving a 25-year sentence. 

The former producer and manager died Friday at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, where he was held after pleading guilty in 2008 to charges that included conspiracy and money laundering.

No cause of death was given.  

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Pearlman ushered in the boom of pop boy bands after he was enamored with the success of New Kids on the Block.

He started a company, Trans Continental Records, that launched to stardom the Backstreet Boys — its five members selected by Pearlman in a talent search. Pearlman later repeated the formula with NSync. 

The impresario went on to manage LFO, Take 5, Natural, Innosense (which briefly featured Britney Spears as a member) and O-Town, which Pearlman created on the first season of the hit reality series “Making the Band,” which he produced for ABC. 

Despite success as a music mogul, Pearlman was accused of defrauding investors out of more than $300 million in what authorities called a massive Ponzi scheme.

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“[He] got greedy and messed up. It’s unfortunate. I wish it could have been another way,” Backstreet Boys member Brian Littrell told The Times in 2014 when asked about Pearlman. “But greed gets the best of you.”

For more music news follow me on Twitter:@GerrickKennedy

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