Two separate cases highlight the dangers of dealing with disreputable promoters and booking agents in the music industry. Yugeshwar Rajkumar, 45, owner of American Talent Agency, appeared to be legitimate. The company had a flashy and well put together website that listed acts ranging from Akon to Trey Songz. He told his potential clients that he was able to book well-known acts and took payments that ranged from $45K and $300K for the bookings. But police state that he kept all the money and never put the shows together. According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., “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.”
Rajkumar pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud and was just sentenced to 3-6 years in prison on the charges.
In another case Noel Muir, 55, of Uniondale, Long Island was found guilty and sentenced to second degree grand larceny for his actions in defrauding an 87-year-old famous jazz artist. Muir befriended Cecil Taylor, an elderly jazz artist whose influence on the genre goes back 60 years, while he was working as a building contractor next door to Taylor’s home. Taylor was one of three recipients of the 2013 Kyoto Award, which recognizes those who significantly contributed to humankind’s scientific, cultural and spiritual development. The award included $500K and was supposed to be sent to Taylor but Muir was able to deceive the prize committee and had the money sent to a fraudulent bank account named “The Cecil Taylor Foundation.”
He was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford. At the time of sentencing, Justice Shillingford stated, “There is damage done when you take advantage of someone of that age.”
Muir had turned over $200K to Taylor already and the judge ordered him to turn over the remaining funds immediately.