According to an indictment that was filed in Manhattan on June 28, three men were charged for allegedly defrauding investors in films in what has been termed as an advanced-fee scheme. All three were taken into custody after the indictment was handed down.
Law enforcement officials allege that the men defrauded investors out of $12 million from 2012 to 2016. Investors were allegedly promised percentages of profits earned from the movies along with guaranteed returns in exchange for their investments. The indictment indicates that the trio falsified documents in order to support their claims about their own investments in the movies as well as the investments of others.
The men allegedly spent the money they received on themselves rather than investing it in the films. The movies in question included films starring Willie Nelson, Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Cage and others. The men then allegedly used the money they received to pay back other investors as well as themselves. While none of the films are named in the indictment, their descriptions reportedly match the names of films listed in a civil lawsuit filed by one of the allegedly defrauded investors in California.
People who are being investigated for allegations of committing fraud or similar white-collar crimes may want to retain help from a criminal defense attorney who has experience with these types of matters. An attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor before charges are ever sent to be heard by the grand jury. This may help to secure an agreement involving the payment of restitution to the victims.
Source: Reuters, “Three charged in New York over $12 million movie finance fraud,” Nate Raymond, June 28, 2016