2 plead guilty in $60M film financing fraud scheme
MIAMI (AP) — A former Wells Fargo banker and a film producer have pleaded guilty in South Florida to participating in a $60 million movie financing fraud scheme.
The Justice Department says 30-year-old Benjamin Rafael admitted Wednesday in Miami to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and 37-year-old Benjamin McConley pleaded guilty to the same charge last week. They each face up to 20 years in prison.
McConley’s partner in Weathervane Productions, Jason Van Eman, remains scheduled for trial in February. Van Eman has 26 production credits, including for films starring Cynthia Nixon and Laura Dern, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Prosecutors say McConley and Van Eman offered to match other movie investors’ contributions, but actually stole the money, while Rafael deceived victims about the security of their funds.