“I’m out here trying to get it / Money is the mission,” declared rapper Chad Focus on his 2017 single Get The Money.
The video, which has 4 million views on YouTube, shows the musician wearing gold chains while surrounded by models, who he showers with dollars.
His star seemed to be on the rise, with expensive billboard ads in Times Square and a single, Dance With Me, that made the US dance charts.
But US prosecutors say he funded his career by credit card fraud.
The rapper, whose real name is Chad Arrington, was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identify theft last week – with the charges becoming public when he appeared before a grand jury on Tuesday.
According to court documents, Arrington worked as an search engine specialist between 2015 and 2018, during which time he and four co-conspirators allegedly used a company credit card to pay for musical instruments, sound equipment, airline tickets, restaurant bills and even the aforementioned billboards.
The musician also made payments to companies that artificially boosted his likes, followers and views on social media platforms, prosecutors say.
Arrington also allegedly spent more than $250,000 (£197,000) on purchases related to a bike-sharing business; and made more than $1.5 million (£1.2m) worth of fraudulent purchases at businesses owned by unnamed accomplices, who then kicked back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the singer.
In order to conceal the scheme, Arrington allegedly asked his co-conspirators to use computer software to make false entries on the credit card billing statements.
It is alleged he also forged his supervisor’s signature to make it appear he had received approval for certain purchases when he had not.
The 31-year-old is currently being held without bail ahead of a bond hearing on Friday.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy and for each of the two counts of wire fraud; as well as a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for each of the four counts of aggravated identity theft.