Musical producer

Film Producer Found Guilty in Film Funding Scheme | USAO-SDFL

Miami, Florida – Following a six-week trial, a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale convicted a 44-year-old former actor and film producer from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering for his role in a fundraising scheme. who defrauded movie and theater producers out of more than $60 million.

According to court records and evidence presented during the trial, Jason Van Eman posed as a film producer and financier, offering to fund independent films, Broadway shows, music festivals and other productions. . Van Eman promised the victims (producers and others seeking funding) that his partner (a co-conspirator named Benjamin McConley) would match any money the victims contributed to their projects. Then, with the combined seed capital (which made the projects more attractive to investors), McConley would apply for and obtain financing from financial institutions.

Based on these lies, the victims sent over $60 million to accounts controlled by the fraudsters. Contrary to what Van Eman promised the victims, his partner never matched their cash contributions or asked for funding. Instead, Van Eman and his co-conspirators stole the victims’ money by transferring it to their personal and corporate bank accounts, often within days of deposit. To make the scam more believable, Van Eman and McConley recruited Benjamin Rafael, a bank clerk, whose role was to assure victims that their cash contributions had been matched and that their money was safe – which didn’t was not true.

Van Eman, McConley and Rafael used the stolen money to purchase luxury automobiles, watercraft, real estate, jewelry, home furnishings, designer clothing, hotel rooms and private air travel and commercial. Van Eman used some of the stolen money to finance films in which he was cast.

Van Eman is due to be sentenced July 21 at 10 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal. He faces up to several decades in prison.

McConley previously pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Rafael was sentenced to 42 months in prison for participating in two scams: the first, the financing plan for the film; the second, concealing his criminal history on requests for COVID-19 relief.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced the guilty verdict.

The FBI Field Division in Miami investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Browne and Yisel Valdes are prosecuting him. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone handles the asset forfeiture.

Court documents and related information can be found on the District Court for the Southern District of Florida website at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.govunder file number 19-cr-20447.

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