Baltimore rapper “Chad Focus” was federally indicted this week for allegedly using an unnamed company’s credit card to rack up more than $4 million in unauthorized purchases — some of which went to products and services designed to create his music and then exaggerate its popularity.
Here are four things to know about him:
Who is Chad Focus?
Chad Arrington, 31, of Randallstown, is a Baltimore rapper who often goes by his stage name “Chad Focus.”
Before he launched his music career, Arrington graduated from McDaniel College in Carroll County with a bachelor’s degree in communication, according to an online biography. A college spokeswoman confirmed a person named Chad Arrington, of Randallstown, earned that degree in 2009.
After college graduation, Arrington’s LinkedIn profile states he worked as an IT executive and later as a marketing executive, before starting a job in 2011 performing search engine optimization for a company called Money Map Press. A representative of the company could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
According to the indictment, Arrington worked as a Search Engine Optimization specialist for several years at an unnamed company that gave him an American Express card.
What is he accused of doing?
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office say Arrington allegedly used that credit card for fraudulent purchases, including to promote the “Chad Focus” brand and to make purchases for himself and several other people. Arrington allegedly forged his supervisor’s signature and approval of the credit card billing statements.
Charging documents state the music artist didn’t work alone. He allegedly had four co-conspirators, none of whom are named in court records. One of the co-conspirators allegedly took an active role in falsifying credit card statements and documents for Arrington.
The rapper made more than $1.5 million worth of fraudulent purchases at businesses owned by the unnamed accomplices, who then kicked back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the singer, the documents state.
What did he spend the money on?
Arrington allegedly used the American Express credit card to purchase sound equipment, studio kits, instruments and music technology that helped him produce a number of hip-hop songs.
Court records also state Arrington paid to artificially increase his song play counts on streaming services such as Spotify and purchased likes, followers, tags and views across various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Over a period of about two years, Arrington allegedly spent more than $300,000 on services from Fiverr, a company that offered to boost the popularity of artists through methods such as radio promotions.
He then bought hundreds of concert and event tickets with the credit card, including $125,000 in tickets for an event where he performed, according to court records.
In 2018, Arrington allegedly paid multiple billboard companies throughout the U.S. to display images of him, his website and phrases including “Get to the Money,” “I will teach you how to be rich” and “Fame vs. Power.”
The singer allegedly purchased more than $65,000 worth of custom jewelry, including a bear pendant valued at $11,500. There were also national travel expenses, hotels, airfare, restaurant bills, luxury vehicle rentals, nightlife expenses and clothing.
Federal investigators state there were other business endeavors attached to the fraudulent credit card purchases. In 2018, the credit card was used to purchase items including more than $80,000 in electric bikes, hover boards and scooters.
Arrington allegedly charged $25,000 from a company to install bike sharing stations in Maryland.
What is he charged with?
Arrington is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identify theft.
If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for each of the four aggravated identity theft counts.
Latest Baltimore City
Baltimore Sun editor John Holland contributed to this article.