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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-043

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

ACTRESS PLEADS GUILTY TO COVERING UP INVESTMENT SCAM RELATED TO PHONY DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY TV SHOW


Los Angeles, CA - Alison Ann Heruth, who claimed to be the lead in a television series to be based on the United States Department of Homeland Security, pleaded guilty this afternoon to concealing an investment scam related to the show.

Heruth pleaded guilty to a felony count of misprison of a felony, admitting that she made false statements to investigators looking into a scheme allegedly orchestrated by her co-defendant, Joseph M. Medawar. That scam allegedly involved Medawar’s production company, Steeple Entertainment, Ltd., and a phony Department of Homeland Security TV show that they told investors would be called "DHS."

In her guilty plea, Heruth admitted that when she met with investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service in April 2005, she made false statements in an effort to cover up the scheme. Specifically, the 41-year-old Heruth admitted that she lied to investigators to conceal her knowledge that Medawar was lying to investors to attract money for Steeple; that Medawar was lying to his investors when he said Steeple had the endorsement of President Bush; that Medawar was lying when he represented that the actual Department of Homeland Security had approved of the use of its name and seal for the TV show; and that investor funds were being diverted for the personal use of Heruth and Medawar, including home rentals, jewelry, child care, food and entertainment, and automobile leases.

Heruth pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Manuel Real, who is scheduled to sentence her on July 17. At sentencing, Heruth faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in federal prison.

According to the indictment against Medawar, he solicited investors to buy stock in Steeple by falsely claiming that the production company would shortly be conducting an initial public offering, that Steeple had hired a well-known investment bank to conduct that initial public offering and that Steeple had a valuation of over $200 million. Medawar is charged with six counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of money laundering, two counts of endeavoring to obstruct the federal criminal investigation, two tax-related offenses, and three counts of making false statements to the FBI. If convicted on all counts, Medawar could be sentenced to a statutory maximum penalty of 449 years in federal prison. Medawar’s trial is scheduled to begin on June 27.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a related matter, the former chief financial officer of Steeple previously pleaded guilty to federal charges for concealing the scheme from federal investigators.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.

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Release No. 06-043

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