It could as nicely have been a remake of “The Grifters.”
An indie movie producer has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for working a rip-off that took greater than $60 million from buyers trying to finance films and Broadway reveals and used it to purchase fancy automobiles, designer garments and flights on non-public jets.
Benjamin McConley, 39, of Miami, had pleaded responsible in 2019 to conspiracy for his function in a fancy movie-financing plot by which allegedly bilked buyers trying to make films, after which funneled the cash into his personal financial institution accounts.
McConley was accused together with producer Jason Van Eman of approaching financiers with the promise of matching their investments greenback for greenback with a purpose to safe loans to pay for a movie’s manufacturing. However prosecutors say the boys by no means matched the cash or utilized for the loans.
Van Eman has pleaded not responsible and is scheduled to go on trial in March. McConley’s lawyer didn’t instantly reply to a message looking for remark. A message left with Van Eman’s lawyer wasn’t instantly returned.
In some instances, the films in the end have been made. In 2018, the boys helped produce the critically acclaimed movie, “The Story,” starring Laura Dern which appeared on HBO
Additionally they helped make the horror movie, “The Sound,” with Rose McGowan and Christopher Lloyd in 2017, and 2016’s “A Quiet Ardour,” a biopic about poet Emily Dickinson, starring Cynthia Nixon.
In lots of situations, prosecutors say McConley and Van Eman stored the cash for themselves, shopping for shares, investing in actual property, high-end furnishings and costly resort lodging, whereas leaving buyers excessive and dry.
Federal prosecutors in Florida say the boys conspired with Benjamin Rafael, a one-time worker at Wells Fargo, who supplied phony letters from the financial institution stating that funds had been correctly deposited and loans utilized for.
Rafael, 31, was fired from Wells Fargo and later pleaded responsible. He was sentenced to three ½ years in federal jail earlier this yr. Representatives for Wells Fargo
didn’t instantly reply to messages looking for remark.
Rafael’s attorneys, David Oscar Marcus and Todd Yoder, mentioned in an announcement that their consumer “was a younger and naïve pawn in a fraud scheme, who was utilized by subtle criminals. He instantly accepted accountability.”
Beginning in 2015, the boys have been hit by a number of lawsuits from buyers, together with Silicon Valley enterprise capitalist Paul Martino and Houston trial lawyer Tony Buzbee. Traders in a stage manufacturing of the movie “Bull Durham,” additionally accused McConley and Van Eman of fraud.
Messages left with a lawyer for Martino and with Buzbee weren’t instantly returned.
With their authorized entanglements swirling, prosecutors say McConley and Van Edam employed a status administration agency to attempt to scrub the web of references to the lawsuits they confronted.
Along with the jail time period, McConley was additionally ordered to pay restitution to his victims and to forfeit as a lot as $69 million in property.