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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947

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    Release No. 11-035

    March 10, 2011


    LOS ANGELES – Two Southland men were taken into custody today by Special Agents of the FBI for their involvement in a boiler room operation that allegedly defrauded investors in an independent Hollywood movie with false claims that well known movie and music stars were affiliated with the project.

    Bart Douglas Slanaker, 42, of Panorama City, and Joseph Roth, 57, of Santa Monica, were arrested today after being named in a federal criminal complaint that charges them with mail fraud. Slanaker was arrested this morning at his North Hills boiler room, and Roth surrendered to federal authorities within the past hour.

    The complaint filed in United States District Court alleges that Slanaker and Roth pitched investments in an indie film called “There for Hope.” Would-be investors were contacted by salespeople based in a North Hills boiler room that was being run by Slanaker.

    The complaint alleges that for the past seven months Slanaker and Roth misled potential investors regarding the use of their money, downplayed the risk of the investment, and falsely told investors that well known movie and music stars were affiliated with the film.

    Slanaker and Roth allegedly raised more than $300,000 since last August. Once investors’ checks were deposited into a bank account, the complaint alleges that Slanaker withdrew most of the money in cash.

    The affidavit in support of the criminal complaints states that the FBI was investigating Slanaker and Roth in relation to other boiler rooms that had solicited investments in movie productions.

    Slanaker is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon. Roth will be detained tonight, pending his initial court appearance tomorrow.

    A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

    The charge of mail fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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


    Release No. 11-035
    Return to the 2011 Press Release Index