A percussionist who claims to be related to Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio is expected to make his initial Los Angeles court appearance Monday afternoon on a federal charge of embezzling $750,000 from a charity concert for homeless children and using the money to buy a house.
Robin DiMaggio, 47, of Woodland Hills was arrested Friday afternoon without incident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the criminal complaint, DiMaggio said he would assist the Peace for You Peace for Me Foundation, a Bulgaria-based nonprofit organization, with organizing a charity concert in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia that was designed to raise money for — and raise awareness of — homeless and displaced children from conflict zones throughout the world.
DiMaggio allegedly told the foundation that he would be able to secure various celebrities to perform at the show. On Aug. 5, 2016, the foundation’s financial sponsor wired $750,000 to a DiMaggio-controlled account as a guarantee for future payments related to unnamed artists performing at the event, according to the document, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court.
Prior to the money transfer, DiMaggio allegedly pledged to place the funds in an escrow account for later use to pay artists who would perform at the concert. But instead of setting up the escrow account, DiMaggio deposited the $750,000 into his personal bank account and used the money to make payments on cars, credit card debt and his living expenses, the complaint alleges.
Prosecutors contend that within weeks of the wire transfer, DiMaggio used $251,370 of the funds to purchase a Calabasas home for his ex-wife. He also allegedly wired $150,000 of the funds to a bank account in the name of his company, DiMagic Entertainment Inc., but none of the transfers were sent to artists or their management in connection with the charity concert in Bulgaria, according to the document.
On Aug. 10, 2016 — the day after he allegedly deposited the $750,000 into his personal bank account — DiMaggio emailed the foundation’s financial sponsor, stating that “an entire group of managers” believed the charity concert in Bulgaria should be postponed from Oct. 1, 2016, to Dec. 1, 2016, during the Bulgarian winter, federal prosecutors allege.
When the foundation’s financial sponsor demanded the return of the $750,000, DiMaggio wrote back that he had sent the deposit to the artists as agreed and that he would return the funds when the deposits were returned, the complaint alleges.
The financial sponsor sued DiMaggio in Los Angeles County Superior Court in December 2016, and during a deposition, DiMaggio testified that a third party had used his email account to contact the foundation about the concert and had been responsible for the withdrawal of most of the funds, federal prosecutors allege.
However, DiMaggio also admitted at the deposition that he used $251,370 in funds to buy the Calabasas home for his ex-wife as a partial settlement of his spousal support, court papers allege. Nine months later, DiMaggio filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. During bankruptcy court proceedings, the financial sponsor and the sponsor’s company, which also had filed claims against him in that court, were awarded $1.2 million.
If convicted of the wire fraud charge, DiMaggio would face up to 20 years in federal prison.
DiMaggio — who worked in the band on Arsenio Hall’s late-night TV show in 2013 — describes himself as a professional drummer and percussionist who has performed or recorded with Paul Simon, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Tupac, Dr. Dre and others. He also claims to have the recurring title of musical director to the United Nations.
DiMaggio said in an interview posted on his website that although he “wasn’t born yet, my great aunt was Marilyn Monroe (and) my great uncle was Joe DiMaggio.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: