Robin DiMaggio, the former musical director of The Arsenio Hall Show, was sentenced today to 27 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $1 million from a charity concert intended to raise money for children made homeless by wars. He pleaded guilty in September 2019.
Arsenio Hall was not involved in the scheme in any way.
In sentencing DiMaggio, the US District Judge described his actions as “a despicable crime of sheer greed.” She also ordered him to serve one year of home confinement once he has finished serving his prison sentence. A restitution hearing in this case will be scheduled in the coming months.
During the summer of 2016, DiMaggio promised to help the Bulgaria-based nonprofit organization “Peace for You, Peace for Me Foundation” organize a concert in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The concert was intended to raise money to help children who lost their homes because of global conflicts.
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DiMaggio, a professional drummer who had served as a musical director for the United Nations, offered to get world-famous musicians and celebrities to perform at the concert. He told the Foundation that he needed nearly $1 million to book the artists, and the Foundation’s financial sponsor wired him the money.
But according to the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, rather than use the money for the charity concert, DiMaggio used it to fund his personal lifestyle and pay his debts. Within weeks of the last wire transfer of $750,000, he used $251,370 of the funds to purchase a Calabasas home for his ex-wife. He also bought his mother a $35,000 car and bought his son a $24,000 car. He also wired $150,000 of the funds to a bank account in the name of his company, DiMagic Entertainment Inc. None of the transfers was sent to artists or their management in connection with the charity concert in Bulgaria.
“The concert never happened and this much-needed money was never raised for this charitable cause,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “DiMaggio lined his own pockets at the expense of the foundation’s financial sponsor and the children that would have benefited from the concert’s proceeds.”
The sponsor later sued DiMaggio in Los Angeles Superior Court, where, according to the US Attorney’s office, “DiMaggio continued to lie in court proceedings that someone else had stolen the money. DiMaggio also forged bank documents and deleted correspondence while this civil litigation was pending, and he ultimately filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. In his September 2017 bankruptcy filing, DiMaggio made false statements that he had not made alimony payments or given any gifts worth more than $600 to any person in the prior two years.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Poonam G. Kumar of the Major Frauds Section.