Jason Van Eman, a fraudster who misled investors by posing as an independent entertainment producer, was given a 262 month jail term on Thursday by a federal court judge in Miami, Florida.
A financing scheme that misled investors of more than $60 million resulted in the sentencing of the 44-year-old former actor and supposed producer from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Additionally, the defendant was mandated to provide nearly $9 million in reparation payments to a few victims.
The judgement follows a federal jury’s conviction of Van Eman for conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering in May.
The evidence indicates that Van Eman presented himself as a financier and producer of movies, offering to sponsor independent films, Broadway performances, music festivals, and other ventures. Van Eman assured the victims—producers and others looking for funding—that his accomplice, Benjamin McConley, a fellow conspirator, would double any funds the victims gave to their endeavours.
The initiatives were thus more appealing to investors thanks to the combined starting money, so McConley would apply for and obtain financing from financial institutions.
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Victims contributed more than $60 million to accounts managed by the fraudsters on the basis of these claims. Van Eman never made good on his promise to the victims that his partner would match their financial support or apply for finance. Instead, Van Eman and his accomplices transferred the victims’ money to their own and business bank accounts, frequently within days of deposit, in order to steal it.
Van Eman and McConley hired Benjamin Rafael, a bank employee, whose job it was to reassure victims that their monetary contributions had been matched and that their money was secure—neither of which were true—in order to make the fraud seem more credible.
Van Eman, McConley, and Rafael bought luxury cars, personal watercraft, real estate, jewellery, home furnishings, designer clothing, hotel stays, and both private and commercial flights with the stolen money. Some of the stolen money was utilised by Van Eman to pay for films in which he had acting roles.
The punishment given by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal was announced by Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John J. Bernardo, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The Miami Field Office of the FBI looked into this matter. Christopher Browne and Yisel Valdes, both assistant US attorneys, led the prosecution. Emily Stone, an assistant US attorney, is in charge of asset forfeiture.