Joel Lee Craft Jr., Seller of Telemarketing Leads, Indicted in $25 Million Indie Movie Investment Scam

Categories: Crime-iny, Film
David Mamet's independent movie (and play that preceded it) Glengarry Glen Ross is about slick salesmen using underhanded tactics to rope in would-be property investors culled from what is known as "lead lists." 

The CEO of a San Clemente information company that sells such lists to telemarketers is now facing federal fraud charges related to a $25 million scheme involving investors in indie films.

A sweeping boiler room investigation by the FBI and IRS turned up the charges against 12 people associated with Cinamour Entertainment LLC, a Sherman Oaks company that produced the 2009 film From Mexico With Love and the unreleased Red Water: 2012.

Some of those defendants and six others are accused of similar federal counts surrounding Q Media Assets LLC, a Burbank film company started by a former CIA agent, which released Eye of the Dolphin and its sequel Way of the Dolphin (later renamed Beneath the Blue).

The defendants are accused of essentially pulling the scam depicted in Mel Brooks' The Producers: generating millions of dollars more from investors than was used making the films, none of which made back their production costs.

Joel Lee Craft Jr., 41, of San Clemente, is the only Orange County defendant and among four who are named in both the alleged Cinamour and Q Media scams. Craft's American Information Strategies, Inc. sold investor lead lists to telemarketing operations that solicited investors through telephone cold calls, according to the feds.

Craft is charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, sales of unregistered securities and money laundering. In the Q Media case, he also faces two tax evasion counts. The tax evasion charges could bring a five-year sentence in the federal pen, while the maximum penalties for each other count is: five years (conspiracy and sale of unregistered securities), 10 years (money laundering); and 20 years (mail and wire fraud).

The FBI statement on the criminal indictments, which lists all the defendants and the charges against each, follows after the break . . .

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