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Rapper Sean Kingston arrested in California after SWAT raids his Florida home; charged with fraud

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Rapper Sean Kingston was arrested in California on fraud charges Thursday, several hours after a SWAT team raided his rented South Florida mansion and carted away a van load of items.
A man walks past a Ferrari in the driveway at Sean Kingston's home in the suburb of Southwest Ranches, Fla., Thursday, May 23, 2024. A SWAT team raided rapper Kingston's rented mansion on Thursday, and arrested his mother on fraud and theft charges that an attorney says stems partly from the installation of a massive TV at the home. Broward County detectives arrested Janice Turner, 61, at the home. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Rapper Sean Kingston was arrested in California on fraud charges Thursday, several hours after a SWAT team raided his rented South Florida mansion and carted away a van load of items.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said Kingston was arrested without incident on a Florida warrant in the area of Fort Irwin, an Army base in the desert about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles.

Earlier in the day, Broward detectives arrested his 61-year-old mother, Janice Turner, during the raid of the rapper's 14,000-square foot (1,300-square meter) home in Southwest Ranches, a well-off Fort Lauderdale suburb that is home to many celebrities and professional athletes, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill.

Broward County prosecutors referred all questions to the sheriff’s office, which has has declined to release specific details about charges, citing an ongoing investigation. After the raid, reporters outside the home could see authorities filling a loading van with goods. The mansion was surrounded by expensive sports cars.

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

Robert Rosenblatt, an attorney representing the rapper and his mother, said, “we are aware of some of the allegations” being made against the two.

“We look forward to addressing these in court and are confident of a successful resolution for Shawn and his mother,” Rosenblatt said in an email.

Florida Department of Corrections records show Kingston is currently on two years' probation for trafficking stolen property. Further information on that conviction could not be found. He will be held in California pending extradition to Florida.

According to federal court records, his mother pleaded guilty in 2006 to bank fraud for stealing over $160,000 and served nearly 1.5 years in prison. She was being held at the Broward jail Thursday night on $160,000 bond.

The Jamaican-American rapper is best known for his 2007 No. 1 single “Beautiful Girls”; another hit, “Take You There”; and his collaboration with Justin Bieber on the song “Eenie Meenie." In 2011 he suffered near-fatal injuries in a personal watercraft accident. Kingston, whose legal name is Kisean Anderson, hasn’t had a major label release in more than a decade.

An attorney who witnessed his mother's arrest said the detentions are partly related to a lawsuit he filed against Kingston in February accusing him of defrauding a Florida company that installed in his home a 232-inch (5.8 meter) television — or approximately 17 feet by 9.5 feet (5 meters by 3 meters).

“It is amazing what you can get away with if you are a celebrity,” attorney Dennis Card told The Associated Press. “He creates this larger than life, ‘I am rich’ persona. His mother is a necessary component in this. He presents himself as a family-oriented guy, ‘I’m taking care of my mom,' but she knows full well what is going on.”

In the lawsuit, Ver Ver Entertainment says Kingston contacted the company in September about purchasing the television, sold under the brand name Colossal TV, and having it installed. The system costs $150,000.

Kingston allegedly told the owners that if they would agree to a lower down payment and give him credit, he and Bieber would do commercials for them.

In November, Kingston paid the company $30,000 and the TV was installed, the lawsuit says. No commercials or further payments were ever made despite numerous promises, it contends.

According to the lawsuit, Kingston no longer has a working relationship with Bieber, who recently dropped his longtime manager. No current contact information for Bieber was available.

“He is 100% not involved in this,” Card said of Bieber. “He had the misfortune of doing some work in the past with Sean, and Sean drops his name like crazy.”

Terry Spencer, The Associated Press