Attorney General James and State Police Superintendent Bruen Announce Conviction and Sentencing of Music Manager for Theft from NY Rock Band

Manager and Promotor of Orange County Rock Band “The Racer” Sentenced to
One Year in Jail After Previously Being Convicted of
Felony Grand Larceny
and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James and State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen today announced the conviction and sentencing of Richard J. Clair, Jr., 52, a resident of Ohio, for stealing $50,000 from the Orange County, New York band “The Racer.” Clair, who previously served as the band’s manager and promoter, lied to the musical trio by claiming that he needed the money to promote an album and upcoming concert tour. Instead, Clair used the band’s funds to subsidize his own personal expenses, which included groceries, fast food purchases, and over $8,500 in cash withdrawals. When confronted by the group, Clair forged documents detailing a contract to make it appear as though he had obtained a record deal for the band. Last October, Clair pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree in Orange County State Supreme Court before the Honorable William L. DeProspo. Today, Clair was sentenced to one year in jail. 

“Richard Clair’s theft and dishonest money management left the band ‘The Racer’ with nothing but broken dreams and an empty bank account,” said Attorney General James. “Instead of delivering on a promised record deal, Clair worked hard for the money he stole — lying, forging, and committing crimes that left the musical trio penniless. Today’s sentencing not only ensures Clair will be put behind bars, but that he no longer has the ability to leave another band behind in the dust.”

“I commend the Office of the Attorney General, our State Police Financial Crimes Unit, and all of our law enforcement partners for their hard work in exposing this fraud,” said New York State Police Superintendent Bruen. “This individual concocted a devious scheme to defraud these trusting band members out of thousands of dollars. The conviction of this individual sends a strong message that those who scam innocent victims will be held accountable for their crimes and brought to justice.” 

Today’s conviction and sentencing are the result of a joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and the New York State Police (NYSP) Financial Crimes Unit. According to the OAG, in July 2015, members of The Racer were introduced to Clair, the owner of a music promotion and marketing firm called “The Essential Group.” Clair offered to help promote the band as a manager and agent. Only five months later, in December 2015, Clair stole $50,000 from the group by falsely telling band members that he was positioning them to sign a record label and he needed the money to pay for marketing expenses. Clair assured members of the trio that the money would be deposited into a dedicated client account, and that they would control how it was spent.   

However, contrary to Clair’s representations, a NYSP forensic audit established that Clair, instead, deposited the band’s money into a personal bank account and then spent it entirely on personal expenditures over the next several months — including over $13,000 at grocery stores, over $8,500 in cash withdrawals, and thousands of dollars on fast food, coffee, and other retailers. By August 2016, the band’s money had been completely exhausted, and Clair’s personal bank account was overdrawn. 

When Clair failed to produce the record deal he had said was imminent, the band grew

suspicious and began demanding its money back. Clair responded in 2016 by deceitfully telling the band that he had entered into a deal on their behalf with a record label based in Oregon. Clair never produced a signed agreement, and, ultimately, the band demanded that he terminate any agreement he had in place and return the money. Clair then mailed the band a fake dissolution agreement, purporting to be signed by the Oregon record label.   

The OAG wishes to thank the NYSP Financial Crimes Unit and the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office for their valuable assistance in this investigation. 

The OAG investigation was conducted by Detective Investigator Dennis Churns, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Mark Spencer and Deputy Chief Investigator Antoine Karam. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.   

The case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Benjamin S. Clark of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph G. D’Arrigo.

The Investigations Bureau and the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau are both part of the Division for Criminal Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado and is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.