Film Producer Pleads Guilty in Movie Financing Fraud Scheme
A South Florida movie financier pled guilty in connection with a scheme to steal over $60 million from investors and producers seeking financing for motion pictures and theater performances.
U. S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Benjamin McConley, 37, of South Florida, admitted his role in orchestrating the sophisticated fraud scheme during a change-of-plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Ursula M. Ungaro. McConley pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Case No. 19-CR-20447). McConley faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years’ in prison.
According to court records, McConley held himself out as a film producer and financier. In those roles, McConley offered to provide financing to investors and producers seeking funds to produce motion pictures, theater performances, and other projects. McConley promised the victims that, in exchange for the victims’ cash contribution, McConley would match the contribution and use the combined funds to secure financing from financial institutions in South Florida and elsewhere.
Based on these false representations and promises, victims sent tens of millions of dollars to accounts controlled by McConley and his co-conspirators. In truth, McConley never “matched” the victims’ contributions as promised in the funding agreements.
Instead of fulfilling their promises to victims, McConley and his co-conspirators stole the victims’ money by transferring the funds to their personal and corporate bank accounts, often within days of the victims’ contributions or loans.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Browne and Maurice Johnson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rosen is responsible for the asset forfeiture component of the case.