A Florida man was sentenced today to two months in jail and four months home confinement for his role in scamming the University of Hawaii out of $200,000 for Stevie Wonder concert that never happened.
The university paid a $200,000 deposit in 2012 and began selling tickets before learning that neither Wonder nor his representatives authorized a show. The scam dubbed locally as the “Wonder Blunder” humiliated the university and prompted investigations.
Sean Barriero pleaded guilty in 2012 to aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen property. Prosecutors say he created a fake document telling the university its money would be placed into an escrow account, when instead Barriero distributed the money to himself, his co-defendant Marc Hubbard and others.
Barriero was facing a sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison, but a prosecutor asked for a lighter sentence because Barriero’s cooperation led Hubbard to plead guilty to wire fraud in 2016. Hubbard was sentenced earlier this month to nearly five years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Wallenstein requested that Barriero’s sentence be reduced because of his cooperation. Hubbard duped Barriero, who believed they could pull off the concert, Wallenstein said, and led him to believe he was in touch with Wonder’s management.
Barriero was misled and “put out to be the fall guy,” Wallenstein said.
Barriero’s federal public defender, Peter Wolff, asked for an entire sentence of home confinement.
“I am sorry for the embarrassment I helped cause the university,” Barriero said.