☷Movie Producer Found Guilty in Film Financing Scheme
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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Movie Producer Found Guilty in Film Financing Scheme Miami , Florida – Following a six - week trial , a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale has convicted a 44 - year - old former actor and movie producer from Bartlesville , Oklahoma of conspiracy , wire fraud , and money laundering for his role in a financing scheme that defrauded movie and theatre producers out of more than $60 million . According to court records and evidence introduced during trial , Jason Van Eman held himself out as a film producer and financier , offering to fund independent motion pictures , Broadway shows , music festivals , and other productions . Van Eman promised the victims ( producers and others seeking financing ) , that his partner ( a co - conspirator named Benjamin McConley ) would match any cash that the victims contributed to their projects . Then , with the combined starting capital ( which made the projects more attractive to investors ) , McConley would apply for and secure financing from financial institutions . Based on these lies , victims sent over $60 million to accounts controlled by the fraudsters . Contrary to what Van Eman promised victims , his partner never matched their cash contributions or applied for financing . Instead , Van Eman and his co - conspirators stole the victims’ money by transferring it to their personal and corporate bank accounts , often within days of deposit . To make the scam more believable , Van Eman and McConley recruited Benjamin Rafael , a bank employee , whose role was to assure victims that their cash contributions had been matched and that their money was secure – neither of which was true . Van Eman , McConley , and Rafael used the stolen money to purchase luxury automobiles , personal watercraft , real estate , jewelry , home furnishings , designer clothes , hotel accommodations , and private and commercial air travel . Van Eman used some of the stolen cash to fund movies in which he was cast . Van Eman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21 , at 10 a . m . before U . S . District Judge Raag Singhal . He faces up to several decades in prison . McConley previously pled guilty in this case and was sentenced to a prison term of 13 years . Rafael was sentenced to 42 months’ imprisonment for participating in two frauds: the first , the film financing scheme; the second , concealing his criminal history on applications for COVID - 19 relief . Juan Antonio Gonzalez , United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida , and George L . Piro , Special Agent in Charge , Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) , announced the guilty verdict . FBI Miami Field Division investigated this case . Assistant U . S . Attorneys Christopher Browne and Yisel Valdes are prosecuting it . Assistant U . S . Attorney Emily Stone is handling asset forfeiture . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www . flsd . uscourts . gov or at http://pacer . flsd . uscourts . gov , under case number 19 - cr - 20447 . ###
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