A man was arrested on charges of theft after falsely promising people to arrange famous celebrities to attend their parties in exchange for cash, prosecutors in New York said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the indictment of Yugeshwar Rajkumar, 44, a talent booking agent who used the name “Mateo Rajkumar” or “Matthew Rajkumar” professionally, and several of the entities he operated in Manhattan, including American Talent Agency Inc, for stealing more than $1.3 million from multiple event promoters by promising to book famous recording artists for clients and instead pocketing the money intended to pay for the performances.
The defendants are charged in an indictment in New York State Supreme Court with Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, as well as Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.
“Using big names and celebrity appeal to hook victims is a scheme we’ve encountered before,” said District Attorney Vance.
“As alleged in this case, the defendant capitalized on his name and reputation in the music industry to take advantage of international victims seeking to book performances by artists such as Chris Brown, and Akon, believing that his victims would be unable to pursue recourse against him because of their locations abroad. However, my Office will continue to seek justice for victims of fraud and theft, no matter where those victims are located.”
According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, Rajkumar, a talent agent known for arranging performances by hip-hop artists, led multiple promoters to believe that he would book musical artists such as Akon, Chris Brown, T-Pain, and MC Hammer, for concerts in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, in exchange for payments ranging from $45,000 to more than $300,000.
The defendant is accused of directing the victims to send money to banks accounts that Rajkumar controlled in the name of his co-defendant entities.
Instead of using the money to book the promised talent, Rajkumar made significant cash withdrawals, cumulating in the theft of more than $1.3 million from his clients. He is accused of using those funds for rent, car payments, legal fees, and the repayment of personal debts.
In most instances, the promised concerts were never organized, and in other cases, Rajkumar’s victims were forced to make additional payments to book the desired artist through other channels.