US authorities have sentenced a 44-year-old former actor and movie producer to nearly 22 years in prison for film financing fraud that defrauded investors out of over $60 million. The defendant must also pay over $9 million in restitution to some victims.
The defendant offered to fund independent motion pictures and other productions, promising the victims that his partner (co-conspirator) would match the funds that the victims would invest in their projects. He further promised the victims that the partner would use the combined capital to apply for financing from financial institutions. The victims of this scheme transferred over $60 million to bank accounts that the conspirators controlled.
However, the defendant’s partner neither invested in the funds nor applied for financing. In fact, the defendant and his co-conspirators transferred the victims’ money to their personal and corporate bank accounts. The conspirators even recruited a bank employee to falsely assure the victims that the defendant’s fake promises had been upheld and that their funds were safe. Meanwhile, the defendant and his co-conspirators used the fraudulently-obtained funds to purchase luxury goods, including vehicles, real estate, jewelry, and designer clothes. The defendant even used some of the stolen money to finance movies in which he appeared as an actor.
Source: US Department of Justice