GUITARIST MARINO DE SILVA IN LAS VEGAS JAIL ACCUSED OF MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD 23rd April 2012
Self-proclaimed "award-winning guitar hero" Marino De Silva, the brother of Lisa Dominique, is in jail after being arrested in the USA in connection with a multi-million dollar fraud. Bail has been set at $330,000.
It is thought De Silva, 51, scammed millions of dollars from people across the globe after they agreed to invest in charity albums through his Angels On Earth Foundation. He has been accused of selling bogus investments to people, claiming to have remastered rare material by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Carlos Santana.
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The guitarist – who performed under the stage name Marino in the 1980s but was also known as Marino Roberts – is currently in a Las Vegas detention centre, accused of 22 charges of fraud and theft.
Mike Dawson, a childhood friend from Greatfield but now living in Cambodia, told the Hull Mail he invested $38,000 with De Silva to help fund a project to digitally remaster rare Beatles tracks.
He said: "I've lost that now and there's nothing I can do about it but to be betrayed by a childhood friend is annoying, I'm angry, really angry.
"From what I understand, he's in for millions of dollars and is in big trouble.
"It seems he's been using charitable foundations as fronts and simply living the high life without paying any of his investors back."
De Silva's website, www.marinodesilva.com, introduces him as an 'international, multi-platinum, award-winning guitar hero and producer extraordinaire'.
But he is now known as inmate number 02842236 at the Clark County Detention Centre in Nevada.
Dawson added: "We were best mates when we were growing up, going out together, having a laugh.
"We met when we were about 15 and stayed friends for years but, then, we drifted apart and went our separate ways.
"Around three years ago, I got in touch with him after seeing a story in the Mail which my mum told me about and I ended up flying out to meet up with him in Las Vegas."
Mr Dawson said he spend a week with De Silva, catching up and reminiscing about old times before his old friend offered him the investment opportunity.
He said: "He was living in a mansion and there was no question that he had done well, he seemed really wealthy.
"He then asked if I wanted to come onboard with one of his ventures. He told me he had some original Beatles tracks, found in the loft at Paul McCartney's auntie's house in Liverpool, and he was going to fly them over and digitally remaster them.
"I feel like an idiot now because it's so implausible but he was a mate and there was nothing that sprung out at me at the time.
"This guy used to sleep on the sofa at my mum's house on Greatfield. We were best mates."
It is understood that De Silva is behind the BlueChip Rocks record label which has been producing albums with the proceeds supposedly going to numerous charities, including ones helping autistic children and wounded US soldiers.
Mr Dawson wired the money to an account held by the record label at the First Republic Bank in Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.
His investment bought him the title of associate producer and a position of board member on the project, which he was told would see him get a share of the record sales from the never-before-heard tracks.
When the album was released, there was no original Beatles records but a collection of tracks from Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Bill Champlin and a cover of Yellow Submarine by De Silva and the former Bay City Rollers guitarist Duncan Faure.
Mr Dawson said: "Things started getting suspicious and I couldn't track him down and he stopped replying to my e-mails and wouldn't return my calls.
"His PA kept telling me he was in China on business and would return soon.
"I eventually got hold of him and told him I was going fly out there and knock him out unless he paid me back.
"He assured me everything would be okay but it never was. I was in Cambodia and he was in Las Vegas. There was nothing I could do as the costs of chasing would have meant I was throwing good money after bad."
De Silva will be making a court appearance today, Monday 23rd April.