In Nigeria, Dammy Krane is a major pop star whose silky-voiced party anthems like "Izzue" regularly hit the million-view mark on YouTube. Onscreen, Krane lives a hip-hop baller life of expansive mansions full of beautiful women and luxury cars.
In real life, though, the singer used fake credit cards to fuel that extravagant image, Miami-Dade Police say. Krane was recently arrested at Opa-locka Executive Airport after he used a bogus card to book a private jet flight to Washington, D.C., police say. When the authorities searched him, they found seven false credit cards in his wallet.
Now the singer — whose real name is Oyindamola Emmanuel Johnson-Hunga — faces nine felony charges in Miami-Dade criminal court for credit card forgery and grand theft. The arrest has made huge news in Krane's native Lagos but so far gone unnoticed in the United States.
In a video posted to Twitter, Krane lays the blame on "agents" and assures fans he's innocent.
"I do not partake in fraud," Krane says. "I do not partake in such activities. Agents booked my flights with fraudulent cards."
Krane was born in Lagos and rose to fame five years ago on the success of his hit single "My Dear," according to his online bio. The 23-year-old became a major player in the Afropop scene, with a quarter-million followers on Twitter and regular chart-topping hits in Africa.
His trouble in Miami-Dade began June 1, according to a police report shared with New Times, when agents from the mobile-phone booking app TapJets called police. The jet company told Miami-Dade Police that Krane and a partner, Chukwuebuka Ilochonwu, had booked a $10,943 trip on a jet from Opa-locka to Washington, D.C. (Krane lists a permanent U.S. address in Baltimore on the police report.)
Two MDPD officers staked out the jet runway until Krane and Ilochonwu showed up. Police searched the pair and found seven cards in Krane's pants pocket. When authorities checked the cards later, all seven had numbers on the face that didn't match the numbers on the security strip on the back.
MDPD says Krane used one of those cards to book his flight and then gave TapJet two other fake cards when he was asked for backup cards for the travel.
His codefendent, Ilochonwu, police soon learned, was out on bond on four other credit card fraud charges. He'd been arrested in April on felony charges stemming from a case in Miami Beach.
On Twitter, though, Krane insists that he's not to blame for the fiasco and that he'll beat the charges and return to hit-making.
"My life is all about my music, and that's what I'm all about," he says. "I'm sorry I got caught up in this mess."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.