SWAT Hunts Down Person of Interest During Embezzlement Investigation

Sean Kingston House Raid

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A SWAT team raided rapper Sean Kingston’s rented South Florida mansion and arrested his mother on fraud and theft charges that an attorney alleges stem partly from the installation of a massive TV at the home.

Broward County detectives arrested Janice Turner, 61, at the 14,000-square foot (1,300-square meter) home in Southwest Ranches, a wealthy Fort Lauderdale suburb where many celebrities and professional athletes live, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation is ongoing and declined to provide specific details about the charges against Turner or whether her son is also a target. Local media reported that Kingston is out of town and wasn’t at the home when it was raided. Broward County prosecutors referred all questions to the sheriff’s office.

Turner’s attorney was not immediately available for comment. Federal court records show she pleaded guilty in 2006 to bank fraud for stealing over $160,000 and served 16 months in prison.

“People love negative energy!” Kingston posted on Instagram Thursday. “I am okay, and so is my mother! … My lawyers are handling everything as we speak.” The post was later taken down.

Florida Department of Corrections records indicate he is currently on two years probation for trafficking stolen property. Reporters at the home saw authorities filling a moving van with goods. The mansion was surrounded by luxury sports cars.

The Jamaican-American rapper is recognized for his 2007 No. 1 single “Beautiful Girls,” his partnership with Justin Bieber on “Eenie Meenie” and “Take You There.” He sustained near-fatal injuries in a jet ski accident in 2011. Kingston, whose legal name is Kisean Anderson, hasn’t released a song on a major label in more than a decade.

A lawyer who saw the arrest claims it is linked to a lawsuit he brought against Kingston in February, accusing him of defrauding a Florida company that put in a 232-inch (5.8 meter) television—or about 17-feet wide and 9.5-feet tall (5 meters by 3 meters).

“It’s astonishing what you can get away with if you’re a celebrity,” attorney Dennis Card said to The Associated Press. “He puts on this larger-than-life persona, ‘I’m rich.’ His mother plays a crucial role in this. He portrays himself as family-oriented—‘I’m taking care of my mom’—but she’s well aware of what’s happening.”

The lawsuit says Ver Ver Entertainment was contacted by Kingston in September about buying the television, which is sold under the brand name Colossal TV, and having it installed at his home. The system is priced at $150,000.

Kingston allegedly told the owners that if they gave him a smaller down payment and agreed to finance him, he and Bieber would appear in commercials for them.

In November, Kingston paid the company $30,000, and the TV was installed, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that no commercials were ever made or further payments were sent despite Kingston making repeated promises.

The lawsuit states that Kingston no longer has a working relationship with Bieber, who recently dropped his longtime manager. Current contact information for Bieber is unavailable.

“He’s definitively not part of this,” Card said of Bieber. “He had the misfortune of collaborating with Sean in the past, and Sean constantly drops his name.