'Guitar hero' con man Marino De Silva jailed in US for eight years
A HULL-born rock musician has been jailed for up to eight years in the US for a multi-million dollar fraud.
Marino De Silva, who describes himself as an "award-winning guitar hero", admitted being involved in a scam after he was arrested in Las Vegas.
He was jailed on Tuesday for a minimum of three years and maximum of eight for selling bogus investments to people through his Angels On Earth charity foundation.
Originally from Greatfield in east Hull, De Silva, 51, scammed millions of dollars from people by claiming to have remastered rare material by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Carlos Santana.
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Howard Jennings, who runs the Hessle Music Centre and is also from Greatfield, was shocked by De Silva's downfall.
"He was just a normal, nice lad, who enjoyed playing guitar, like the rest of us," he said.
"I am shocked he has been sent to jail and I'm shocked he has been ripping people off.
"He was never one to sit around doing nothing, so I wasn't surprised he went to Vegas, but I am surprised about this.
"Maybe he fell into a trap, with the wrong kind of people, or maybe the high life just got too much for him."
De Silva left Hull and moved to the US about 12 years ago in search of fame and to work as a music producer.
Instead, he is now an inmate in the Nevada Department of Corrections after he was sentenced at the Las Vegas Justice Court.
Documents released by the court show De Silva admitted the fraudulent sale of security and was sentenced to a maximum of 96 months in the jail.
The documents are entitled "State of Nevada vs Marino DeSilva" and show he was also ordered to pay $132,836.21 in compensation.
It states De Silva was doing business as Blue Chip Rocks LLC when the offence took place in 2008.
The guitarist performed under the stage name "Marino" in Hull pubs and clubs in the 1980s and was also known as Marino Roberts.
Before he was arrested earlier this year, De Silva had been living in a $2 million mansion with a swimming pool in the gambling capital of the world.
The Mail understands De Silva is behind the BlueChip Rocks record label, which has been producing albums with the proceeds supposedly going to numerous charities, including organisations helping autistic children, wounded US soldiers and the families of people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
His website, www.marinodesilva.com, has been taken down, although the Angels On Earth Foundation site still exists.
A biography of De Silva on the site describes him as "an angel in the city of angels".
It says: "International award-winning guitar virtuoso and impresario, Marino, founder and president of Angels On Earth Foundation, is a man who believes in angels and the healing power of music.
"Through his foundation, Marino fuses the metaphysical with the physical and makes healing music a reality for everyone."
A website promoting one of De Silva's CDs, Rocked By An Angel, says investors who put in $500 will receive 1 cent per CD sold.
It says: "Investment begins earning from first CD sold and royalty checks and statements are administered quarterly, for a period of five years."
It states that if a million copies of the album were sold, investors would receive ten times their initial investment.
A biography of De Silva on the site says he has been "critically acclaimed as one of the greatest guitarists of our time".
The website also claims to quote Al Bowman, the president of the Los Angeles Music Awards, as saying: "Marino De Silva has discovered life's true path to musical immortality. As a musician, producer and humanitarian, he has reached heights that can be matched by very few, either in Los Angeles or around the world."
The Mail attempted to contact De Silva's lawyer Mace Yampolsky, but had not received a response at the time of going to press.