Three men were taken into custody on June 28 on charges that they misled and defrauded investors of $12 million. The funds were supposedly going to be used to finance movie projects that included the likes of Willie Nelson and Harry Connick Jr. According to authorities, the money was solicited between 2012 and 2016. Investors would be repaid through profit sharing and other methods.
Instead of using the money to make movies, one man bought a home and a car. Money from new investors was also used to pay the other two as well as other investors. Investments were solicited using falsified documents that misled investors to believe that the men had secured other funding or were otherwise personally involved in the projects.
One of the victims claimed that he had given the trio $10.9 million to supposedly fund four movie projects. He had previously filed suit against the group in a Los Angeles court in 2014. All three men were charged in this case with wire fraud as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two of the men were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Those who are charged with a white-collar crime such as participating in a Ponzi scheme may need help from a criminal defense attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review the case to create one or more defenses. For instance, it may be possible to argue that an individual solicited funds for a legitimate project or on behalf of others who claimed to be part of a legitimate project. It may also be possible to argue that criminal actions were undertaken against the will of the defendant through actual threats or implications of harm.