Marino DeSilva claimed he was nominated for a Grammy award and had the rights to market the music of the Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.
Some people believed him and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with the expectation that DeSilva was going to sell albums featuring the songs of those musicians and that they would receive royalties.
It turned out that DeSilva, 51, who looks the part of a 1980s glam-rock star with shoulder-length curly, blond hair, was running a Ponzi scheme.
DeSilva, who is also known as Marino Roberts, was never nominated for a Grammy. He never released albums featuring music of the Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix or the Rolling Stones. And he never went on a promotional tour with Keith Richards or played guitar for Prince or Santana.
But he did cover the Stones’ classic rock song “Satisfaction,” and his version was not evidence enough to dissuade his victims.
DeSilva was sentenced last week by District Judge David Barker to three years and two months to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $132,000 in restitution after he pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud.
According to the Nevada attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case, DeSilva claimed he had the rights to use the intellectual property of the bands and had marketing agreements with the Hard Rock and with the Cirque du Soleil show “Love.”
Court documents show DeSilva lured investors with tales of his rock star lifestyle and friendships with famous musicians to the tune of nearly $450,000. Once he received the money, DeSilva would send the investors small checks, which he said were royalties from the album sales.
In one instance he sent a man who invested $35,000 one check for $53.13.
Investigators with the secretary of state’s office found that the “royalty check” came from money he received from other investors.