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Twelve people have been arrested on federal fraud charges stemming from operations that allegedly solicited investments in independent movies with false promises of up to 1,000 percent returns, and misrepresentations as to how investor funds would be used.
Federal authorities arrested 10 defendants on June 16, including nine people in the Los Angeles area and one in Florida. An additional suspect, Daryll Van Snowden, 40, of West Hollywood, is still being sought.
The arrests were the result of two indictments returned on June 15 by a federal grand jury. While some of the movies were actually produced, the indictments allege that the defendants lied, gave half-truths and concealed material facts from investors around the nation. A former CIA agent, who ran a Burbank movie company called Q Media Assets, has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax charges in relation to the alleged scams.
One indictment relates to the activities of Cinamour Entertainment LLC, which allegedly embezzled funds from investors who put money into independent motion pictures titled “From Mexico with Love” and “Red Water: 2012”. The defendants raised money for the films through telemarketing operations, which made fraudulent pitches to investors. The charged defendants and other telemarketers cold-called investors and solicited investments with false claims, and that investors would receive returns up to 1,000 percent. More than one-third of the investments allegedly went into their pockets, and little more than one-third of the $15 million in investor funds were used to actually produce and promote “From Mexico With Love”. The defendants raised about $2.7 million for the “Red Water” movie, which was never made.
The second indictment focuses on Q Media Assets LLC and alleges that telemarketers fraudulently raised funds for films called “Eye of the Dolphin” and its sequel, “Way of the Dolphin”. The defendants in the Q Media case raised approximately $5 million for “Eye of the Dolphin” and about $4 million for “Way of the Dolphin” from about 250 investors.
The defendants include Daniel Toll, 56, who was president of Cinamour; Joel Lee Craft Jr., 41, CEO of the San Clemente-based American Information Strategies, Inc., which sold investor lead lists to the telemarketing operations; James Lloyd, 47, who operated a telemarketing company that raised money for Cinamour and Q Media; and Paul Baker, 50, a closer for Cinamour, who later operated telemarketing company named Independent Essentials. Other defendants include Bart Douglas Slanaker, 48; Allen Bruce Agler, 54; Albert Greenhouse, 58; DeLitha Jones-Floyd, 54; Brian Emmanuel Ellis, 35; Daniel Morabito, 31; David Nelson, 40. All 12 defendants are charged in a conspiracy count, as well as in several of the 15 mail fraud counts, nine wire fraud counts and 13 counts of sales of unregistered securities.
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