California man sentenced to 8 years for scamming investors out of $14 million for fake movie deal
11/12/2021 4:04 pm PST
LOS ANGELES (TCD) -- A 43-year-old man from Manhattan Beach was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison on Wednesday for defrauding Asian investment firms out of $14 million in a movie deal scam.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Adam Joiner was sentenced by Judge Andre Birotte Jr., who, in addition to the sentencing, ordered him to pay $14 million in restitution.
The scam allegedly began in 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Attorney’s Office says Joiner used fake documents and forged signatures of Hollywood executives and power players so that South Korea and China-based investment firms would funnel money into his fake movie project, "Legends." He reportedly told investors that the movie was about American folklore characters like Davy Crockett, Calamity Jane, Paul Bunyan and John Henry. He also reportedly told investors that "Legends" would be distributed by Netflix.
Prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo that the "representations proved to be as fictitious as the legendary figures his film was supposed to depict," the Attorney’s Office says.
Joiner’s company, Dark Planet Pictures LLC, ended up defrauding a South Korean investment firm called Korea Investment Global Contents Fund, of $8 million, the Attorney’s Office wrote. Joiner reportedly scammed Star Century Pictures Co. Ltd., a Chinese investment firm, out of $6 million.
According to the Attorney’s Office, FBI agents interviewed a Netflix executive who seemed to have signed the distribution agreement. The Attorney’s Office says the executive told the FBI that he didn’t know who Joiner was, nor had he heard of "Legends."
The Attorney’s Office wrote that in 2016, Joiner told the investors he had ended the Netflix distribution deal and secured a new agreement with Amblin Partners. Both deals were fake.
Joiner continued to embellish the truth and fake contracts as he misappropriated investors' funds, the Attorney’s Office wrote. He reportedly concocted a fake negotiation deal with director Guillermo del Toro as part of the falsified Amblin Partners agreement.
Joiner reportedly provided investors with detailed updates. He claimed that famous Hollywood players like Don Murphy were going to work with them, the Attorney’s Office says. While Murphy was reportedly confirmed to produce the film and secure a distribution deal, no distributor was locked down, no actors were secured, and no director agreed to do the movie. In 2017, Murphy ended his arrangement, the Attorney’s Office wrote.
According to the Attorney’s Office, Joiner used just over $5 million of the investors' money to buy a home in Manhattan Beach. Almost $4.5 million was reportedly transferred to another one of his accounts in order to develop a separate film.
In October 2019, Joiner sold the Manhattan Beach home after signing his plea agreement but before entering his guilty plea, the Attorney’s Office wrote. Prior to selling the house, he reportedly illegally removed the charges his investors placed on the house by filing forged documents of attorneys who represented the victims.
Joiner was caught again, and he entered another guilty plea to wire fraud in December 2019.
The Attorney’s Office says the government seized $5,572,581 from Joiner’s accounts. In addition, $4 million had already been given back to the Korean investment firm.
- South Bay Man Sentenced to Over 8 Years in Prison for Movie Investment Scam and for Fraudulently Selling House Bought with Illicit Proceeds - U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California
- FBI Arrests Manhattan Beach Man Facing Federal Charges Related to Movie Investment Scam that Cost Victims $14 Million - U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California
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