NEW YORK: A 45-year-old Indian-origin man, who worked as a talent agent, has been sentenced to up to six years in prison here for stealing more than USD 2 million from clients by falsely promising to book famous recording artists for events.
Yugeshwar Rajkumar of New Jersey, who had pleaded guilty last month in New York State Supreme Court to grand larceny and fraud charges, was also ordered to pay USD 1.7 million in restitution.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Rajkumar was a booking agent and stole more than USD 2 million from clients by falsely promising to book famous recording artists for events.
"The defendant took advantage of his reputation in the music industry to convince his victims to pay him tens of thousands of dollars to secure supposed performances by world-famous recording artists," Vance said.
Around 2008, Rajkumar falsely promised clients and event promoters that he would book popular recording artists for overseas concerts, including Akon and Chris Brown.
In exchange for the supposed booking, Rajkumar charged his clients between USD 45,000 and USD 300,000, and directed them to wire payments to bank accounts held by entities based in New York and controlled by him.
However, instead of using the money to book the promised artists, he made cash withdrawals and spent the money on rent, car payments, legal fees, and personal debts, Vance said.
In many cases, victims were forced to pay additional fees to secure performances by desired artists who were never booked by Rajkumar.