Two California men have been charged with wire fraud after pretending to be promoters of popstar Mariah Carey and swindling two companies out of more than $100,000.
The Lesbian Gay Community Network of Western Michigan (now known as the Grand Rapids Pride Center) was one of the two organizations targeted by the fake promoters, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release, according to Wood TV. Back in 2015-2016, the organization wanted to hold a concert in hopes to benefit young people, which would be backed by the iconic diva Carey. The promoter seemed legitimate – with detailed contracts consistent with entertainment industry standards, as well as complimentary trips to New York City and Las Vegas to see Carey perform – but it was all a scam.
Raul Meija Pereida, 47, and Allen Dean Gordon Clayborn, 35, used fake email accounts and made fraudulent tickets to give to the organization, pretending to be Carey’s road manager to make the lie more believable. After the organizations paid the “promoters,” the men wired the funds into Pereida’s bank account.
“All of this created the illusion that the victims were negotiating with actual employees of the singer’s production company,” the news release said. “Mariah Carey knew nothing about this. The defendants used the money for their own purposes.”
The men also reportedly scammed another group in Flagstaff, Arizona out of $30,000.
They were prosecuted by the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy VerHey and appeared in a federal court in Kalamazoo last week. Pereida has been sentenced to two years and three months in prison, and since he is undocumented, he will be deported back to Mexico following his sentence. Clayborn, who has a history of fraud, will serve five years in prison. Additionally, both men have been ordered to pay back the two organizations $130,000.