Popular children’s show personality Barney the Dinosaur was arrested this morning at his upper west side penthouse and charged with wire fraud. If convicted he faces a possible 45-year sentence.
“He was running a ponzi scheme” said the FBI agent who arrested him.
He milked his fans of hundreds of thousands of dollars. After his television show as cancelled he set up a phony corporation called “Barney Productions Ltd.” and promised investors inside access to his creative mind. I guess lots of people took the bait. His public image was very family friendly and innocent and naturally people trusted him with their money. It just goes to show you that what you see on TV isn’t always reality.
If the charges are true it would represent a stunning downfall for the once-popular TV personality.
When Barney & Friends debuted in 1992 it propelled the purple anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus rex to international superstardom. Using songs, dance routines and a sunny, optimistic attitude he captured the world’s heart. Even Barney telling a reporter that he was “more popular than Jesus Christ” could not dampen his appeal.
But behind the scenes PBS executives worried about Barney’s new-found love for gambling.
“He was always at the race track” said one.
Naturally there was some concern. I mean gambling would not mix with the family-friendly persona we had created. One day I asked him point blank, “Barney why do you go to the race track? Are you gambling?” You know what he told me? “I’m not going there to suck d*ck in rest rooms.” Frankly we would have preferred he was as most of us at PBS do that. But since we were making so much money from Barney and Friends it was decided to do nothing. We didn’t want to kill the golden goose.
Barney’s gambling addiction only grew over the years and soon he was betting on everything.
“One time he bet me he could eat macaroni and cheese faster than I could” said the green triceratops Baby Bop.
I mean there wasn’t even any money involved in the wager. He just wanted to gamble. He beat me but afterwards got very sick and threw up all over one of the crew. Fortunately it was only the prop master whom we all hated anyway.
Once the show was cancelled and needing money to finance his elite lifestyle Barney began his ponzi scheme. Soon he had bilked fans and Hollywood associates of millions. But suspicions arose that Barney could not possibly be posting such great returns and eventually investors began asking for their money.
Knowing that an arrest was imminent Barney made plans to move to France where he couldn’t be extradited. However the FBI got to him first.
As he was led away in handcuffs fans spat upon their former idol. Many who had lost their life’s savings threatened to kill him.
Barney appeared unrepentant.
“Prison is easy time. All I have to do is suck some guard’s d*ck and I’ll be out of the laundry room and stealing the warden’s money. You can bet on it!”