In a case stemming from a multi-count indictment issued last summer, the last of nine defendants from a Burbank-based film company has pleaded guilty ahead of trial. Robert Ramirez of Lake View Terrace, CA admitted he took part in a scheme to defraud investors who gave money for two indie projects at Q Media Assets LLC. He was set to go to trial March 13th on one count charging him with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and the sale of unregistered securities. The conspiracy charge carries a five year maximum sentence. Th other defendants pleaded guilty in the lead-up to trial.
Last summer, Deadline reported FBI and IRS agents arrested and charged 18 people on money laundering charges relating to a telemarketing “boiler room” scam that solicited $25 million in so called investments in a string of indie projects. That bust included figures at Q Media as well as Cinamour Entertainment LLC.
Former CIA operative Michael D. Sellers ran Q Media Assets which raised illicit funds for projects called Eye Of The Dolphin and sequel Way Of The Dolphin. Telemarketers at the company used lists purchased by Sellers from American Investment Strategies, a Southern California company owned by defendant Joel Lee Craft, Jr. Defendants in the Q Media case raised about $5 million for Eye Of The Dolphin and $4 million for Way Of The Dolphin from 250 investors. Eye grossed about $70,000 in theatrical ticket sales, while Way went straight to video.
According to the 33-count indictment, telemarketers at Q Media told investors that they were producers of the Dolphin movies, and they “often touted [Sellers’] background as a former clandestine officer with the CIA in order to assure victim investors that representations in the solicitation materials and statements by the closers were true and investments in the Dolphin Movies were safe.” The telemarketers seeking investments in the two movies allegedly “made material misrepresentations, told material half-truths, and concealed material facts” in an effort to bilk investors, specifically concealing information about commissions and promising returns of up to 1,000 percent. Sentences for each of the nine will be handed out beginning later this spring.