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Lou Pearlman Shapes Up for a Fight

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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JAILHOUSE ROCK Pearlman

Jail is just a bump in the road, says a locked up Lou "Big Poppa" Pearlman, creator of the Backstreet Boys, N Sync, and—if allegations against him are true—a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded banks and investors out of a half a billion dollars.

"This is just one of those hurdles in life that you have to get past," Pearlman told Radar during a visit at the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Florida, his first interview since he fled the country in late January. Clad in a blue jumpsuit and speaking via video conference alongside accused drug dealers, wife beaters, and thieves, he added, "I'm planning on this chapter ending relatively soon."

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Pearlman was initially skittish, declining to speak specifically about anything having to do with the federal bank fraud charges and scores of lawsuits that could leave him broke or jailed for the rest of his life. But, true to form for the proud pop of bubblegum boy bands, he put on a rosy grin and tried to accentuate the positive. Pearlman was deemed a serious flight risk after spending the better part of the last year on the lam in Germany, (briefly) California, and eventually Indonesia (where he was checked into a posh resort under the name "A. Incognito Johnson"), but he has used his time in jail to prepare his court case (no date is set) and slim down, he says.

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