While Raquel Cloutier was still recovering from delivering her fifth baby, her husband Eric decided that taking the older four to the annual community yard sale would be a good way to keep the kids busy. He also decided to bring a few things he thought they didn’t need anymore to sell at the yard sale.
One of the things he figured they didn’t need any more was a watch jewelry box, which he sold for $10 on June 1. Which sucks, because apparently that’s exactly where Mrs. Cloutier had stashed her $23,000 diamond wedding ring before she went to the hospital. The California mom says she realized the ring was missing the day after she returned from the hospital, June 5.
“He didn’t know that before I went to the hospital, I put my ring in that box. I wanted the ring to be in a safe place and out of reach from my 2-year-old twins,” Mrs. Cloutier told ABC News.
“I go into my husband’s closet, can’t find the box, and then he tells me he sold it. I said, ‘You sold it? What do you mean you sold it?’ I immediately started crying,” she said.
In all fairness to her husband, if I put a $23,000 ring in a box in my husband’s closet, I’d probably mention it to him, if only because I know that pregnancy brain means I might forget what the heck I did with it. Of course, if I took off a $23,000 ring, I’d probably put it in a firesafe lock box or (call me crazy) in my jewelry box.
Mr. Cloutier said on Twitter that the ring was not insured, although I doubt that any insurance company would pay up for a ring that had been sold, not lost or stolen. He also blamed the ring sale on his kids: “Our neighborhood did a garage sale last sat.let everyone through the gate,kids sold jewelry box for $10 with a 22k wedding ring inside :(”
If you’re wondering what line of work a guy has to be in to buy his wife a $23K wedding ring, I have the answer! Eric Cloutier is a former professional hockey player who played for the Louisiana Icegators, a lower-tier minor league team in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) now affiliated with the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Wait, minor league hockey players make that kind of dough? Uh, no. Players in the SPHL average about $300 a week. But nightclub owners and poker players make some big bucks, apparently!
Eric Cloutier, who, according to his Twitter profile, is a nightclub owner and is also a “hobby” poker player. It’s a little unclear what nightclubs he actually owns, although earlier this year he tweeted about looking for investors to help him start a gastropub in Santa Monica and a nightclub in downtown L.A. Things must be moving along nicely with those: on June 3 he tweeted “Wife is coming back home today and I will not be there to welcome her call of duty. Finalizing business things today.”
So… sounds like you got all the financing together?
As for poker, it’s quite the hobby: according to his profile on Poker Pages, over the years he’s won more than $500,000 in poker games. However, this profile on Card Player shows that his poker winnings have steadily decreased since 2010.
He must have had a lot of time for playing poker in 2010, because he seems to have gone out of the nightclub business for a while around then. In 2009, when Mr. Cloutier was co-owner of two Lafeyette, Louisiana nightclubs, Marley’s Downtown and Karma, he was arrested and charged with money laundering, racketeering, computer fraud and felony theft, according to an AP news report. Louisiana state authorities charged him with:
- Felony theft over $126,000, two counts.
- Attempted felony theft over $28,000, two counts.
- Obstruction of justice, 340 counts.
- Computer fraud, 67 counts.
- Filing false public records, 92 counts.
- Money laundering over $1.4 million, one count.
- Racketeering, one count.
In exchange for a “best interest no contest plea,” in which he did not admit guilt, he was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in prosecution costs to the state Attorney General’s Office and the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
In 2011, Mr. Cloutier sued three former business partners, who he said didn’t pay him fully after buying him out of his share of the nightclub Karma.
It’s not clear what exactly he’s been doing since then, but in April he tweeted “I forgot how much fun it is to work, I have been vacationing for way to long. Happy to be back. Watch out California I am coming!”
Now, I’m not saying there’s something weird about this whole story, but I do know that there are many, many things my husband wouldn’t do while I was in the hospital (or actually ever). In fact, here are eight things I can think of, right off the bat:
8. Participate in a yard sale, unless having some sort of allergy medicine-induced personality break.
7. Let the children decide what should be sold at a yard sale.
6. Let the children root through his closet to select things to sell at a yard sale.
5. Think that he would have any idea which stuff in our house should be sold. Seriously, my husband does like 90 percent of the laundry in this house and he still doesn’t know which shirts belong to which kid. There is no way he’d think he knows what stuff to get rid of.
4. Sell a jewelry box without, um, looking in it.
3. Sell a box of any kind without looking in it.
2. Or at least giving the box a little shake? No? Seriously?
1. Not be with me when I brought a new baby home from the hospital to our other kids.
According to ABC News, Mrs. Cloutier is offering an unspecified reward for the return of the ring. Good luck with that! And best wishes to the Cloutiers with their new baby and their new business ventures!
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