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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 13, 2019

Fraudulent Mariah Carey Concert Promoters Sentenced

Allen Dean Gordon Clayborn and Raul Pereida Defrauded the Lesbian and Gay Community Network of Western Michigan of $100,000 in Multistate Benefit Concert Swindle

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Raul Mejia Pereida appeared in U.S. District Court in Kalamazoo for sentencing in connection with a fraudulent scheme he carried out with codefendant Allen Dean Gordon Clayborn. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Pereida to 27 months in prison for his role in the offense. Once his sentence is complete, Peredia, an undocumented citizen of Mexico, will be deported. Judge Maloney sentenced codefendant Clayborn to 60 months in prison on April 26. Both men must also repay the $130,000 netted in the con.

          Clayborn (age 35) and Pereida (age 47) were charged with wire fraud and identity theft in connection with a fraudulent concert scheme they carried out during 2015 and 2016. Clayborn, and Pereida, using aliases, pretended to represent singer Mariah Carey. They convinced two LGBT charities to pay a total of $130,000 to supposedly hire Carey to perform at charity concerts benefiting at-risk youth. One of charities targeted in the scheme was the Lesbian and Gay Community Network of Western Michigan, located in Grand Rapids. This organization paid $100,000 for Mariah Carey to perform an outdoor benefit concert scheduled at Calder Plaza on June 16, 2016. The other charity targeted by the men was a similar organization in Flagstaff, Arizona.

          The scheme was sophisticated. It involved detailed contracts consistent with entertainment industry standards, trips to New York City and Las Vegas for charity organizers to hear Mariah Carey perform, complementary tickets that were altered to appear to be gifts from the singer, and bogus email accounts in the name of Carey’s road manager. All of this created the illusion that the victims were negotiating with actual employees of the singer’s production company. Mariah Carey knew nothing about this. The defendants used the money for their own purposes. Instead of raising money through the concert, the victim charities were left virtually insolvent.

          U.S. Attorney Birge acknowledged the importance of the sentences handed down by Judge Maloney. "This scam did significant financial damage to two charities, which means all those who otherwise would have benefited from the charities suffered. The defendants succeeded in their swindle because these charities were anxious to have the money to do good things for their communities. Clayborn and Pereida deserved their punishment."

          "Clayborn and Pereida are nothing more than con artists and thieves who - out of pure greed - compromised the availability of vital social and community services to the residents of Western Michigan and Arizona," said SAC Slater. "The FBI will ensure this type of fraud is vigorously investigated so that those who engage in it can be brought to justice."

          The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy VerHey prosecuted this case.

END

Updated May 13, 2019