Lehigh Valley

Martin Guitar targeted in alleged wire fraud scheme

A 36-year-old man of Gun Barrel City, Texas, allegedly schemed to defraud multiple manufacturers -- including Martin Guitar -- of commercial goods to obtain money by impersonating prominent musicians and athletes.

U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen reports Michael Glenn Barnes obtained the names and personal information of high-status individuals to create emails and falsely represent himself to companies through May 2015 to September 2017.

Barnes claimed to manufacturers' that their products would be used in "high-profile events, such as concerts, professional athletic events and other public events," and promised to provide promotion and publicity for the sellers.

He is charged with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud. 

Among 36 alleged victims, Martin Guitar in Nazareth was one of them.

Barnes contacted the company four times, twice in 2015, once in 2016 and once in 2017. 

On July 14, 2015, Barnes claimed to be "S.H.", the tour manager of the music group "Three Days Grace". He requested a black composite cutaway acoustic guitar, valued at a little over $430, which  he said was going to be used in a Rolling Stone magazine shoot. 

On Aug. 30, 2015, he contacted Martin Guitar again, this time claiming to be "C.P.", a member of the music group "Drowning Pool." He asked for another black composite cutaway acoustic guitar and said it was to be used at a Rolling Stone magazine shoot held in Dallas. 

In 2016, Barnes claimed to be "M.M", a member of the music group Memphis May Fire and requested another guitar to be used in three magazine photoshoots with the band. On March. 20, 2017 he claimed to be "M.B.", a member of music group "Red" and asked Martin Guitar to provide a guitar valued at $1,000 to be used in an acoustic DVD photo shoot and a recording session in Dallas.

Barnes asked for all merchandise to be delivered to his residence in Gun Barrel City, Texas. The indictment alleges he targeted at least 36 companies in 11 states and four foreign countries.

A detention hearing is set for Barnes Nov. 20. Until then, he is being held in custody by the United States Marshal, according to the United States Magistrate Judge John. D. Love. 

If convicted, Barnes faces a maximum sentence of 800 years imprisonment, including a mandatory sentence of two years imprisonment, three years supervised release, a $10,250 fine and a $4,100 special assessment. 

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