Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths recently fell victim to a fraudster, after she was reportedly scammed of almost $5 million in a bogus real estate deal, by the man, who was recently released from prison after serving nearly 12 years for fraud.
According to Radio Jamaica, the man was charged last week by the Fraud Squad and has been placed behind bars. Fraud Squad detectives say the accused man collected US$30,000 and J$250,000 from the Reggae songstress as payment for a property.
He had initially approached the Fire Burning artist in June 2021 and offered her a “deal”, the report said.
Under the deal, the accused man said he and his partners could lend Griffiths US$500,000 to purchase a property, but she would have to pay US$30,000 plus J$250,000 for fees and stamp duty, according to court documents filed by the police.
The 72-year-old songbird reportedly called the police after she discovered that she had been defrauded by the man.
The man was subsequently charged with obtaining money by means of false pretence and brought before the St. Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday, where he was remanded until September 8.
Griffiths whose career spans more than 50 years, began singing professionally as a vocalist in 1964, for the Byron Lee and the Dragonaires band and later became affiliated with Coxsone Dodd’s- Studio One, where she recorded her first Jamaican number-one, Feel Like Jumping.
While recording at Studio One, she teamed up with her dear friend Bob Andy on the track Really Together, which was the first of many duets that the two would record, among the others being Young Gifted and Black and The Pied Piper.
Ten years after entering the music business, Marcia teamed up with Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley to form the I-Threes, which became a critical part of Bob Marley’s ensemble, as backing singers.
After she went back to a solo career, Marcia hit the Billboard chart with Electric Boogie, which helped to popularise the dance dubbed the Electric Slide.
Electric Boogie peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and is the highest-selling single in the US for a Jamaican female Reggae artiste.
The Electric Boogie was first recorded as a duet by Marcia and her childhood friend Bunny Wailer in 1983, and later propelled by music mogul Chris Blackwell of Island Records in 1989.
Bunny Wailer was also the writer and producer of the original song but afterwards recorded a second version as a soloist. The vinyl record of Marcia’s 1983 original version lists her as singer and Bunny Wailer as producer, arranger and background vocalist.
A native of West Kingston, throughout her illustrious career, Marcia has released songs spanning ska, reggae, and rocksteady and even dancehall, while a part of Penthouse Records.
In 1986, she recorded Everywhere with Penthouse’s Donovan Germain, who has lauded her for having brought “a lot of attention and credibility”, and making an immeasurable and indelible mark on the music industry.
Among the other songs she recorded at Penthouse were Fire Burning, versions of which featured Cutty Ranks and Tony Rebel; I Shall Sing and Land of Love. She also teamed up for tracks with Buju Banton and Beres Hammond while at Penthouse in the 1990s.
Griffiths’ awards include the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in 2002 and investiture in the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, in 2014. She also received The Gleaner Honour Lifetime Achievement Award for Entertainment in 2015 for her “for her remarkable, consistent, professional and excellent contribution to the development of Jamaican music over the years and being a solid pillar on which reggae music continues to stand internationally,”. She was also one of three recipients of the 2020 Jamaica Reggae Icon Award.