Former Wells Fargo Banker Pleads Guilty for Helping Fake Movie Producers
A former Wells Fargo banker pled guilty today for his involvement in a fake $60 million movie producing scam.
Benjamin Rafael admitted his role in the sophisticated fraud scheme during a change-of-plea hearing. Rafael pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Rafael faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years in prison.
The former Wells Fargo banker assisted Benjamin McConley and Jason Van Eman who held themselves out as film producers and financiers.
The indictment charges that McConley and Van Eman promised the victims that they would match the victims’ cash contribution. As a result, they would then use the combined funds to secure financing from financial institutions in South Florida and elsewhere.
The indictment alleges victims sent millions of dollars to accounts controlled by McConley and Van Eman. The fake movie producers never “matched” the victims’ contributions as promised in the funding agreements.
McConley and Van Eman allegedly stole the victims’ money by transferring the funds to their personal and corporate bank accounts.
Fake Movie Producers Convince Wells Fargo Banker To Lie For Them
The fake movie producers convinced the Wells Fargo Bank banker to deceive victims about the security of their funds. McConley and Van Eman also directed Rafael to go along with the scheme. As a result, Rafael’s job was to assure victims that their contributions or loans had been “matched” as promised.
Rafael was termination from Wells Fargo in 2015. However, they repeatedly assured victims that Rafael was still a Wells Fargo banker after his termination.
During the course of the scheme, Rafael and the fake movie producers would also create and transmit false and fraudulent bank documents. This included purported bank letters including forged “proof-of-funds” letters. They would also create fake account signature cards and deposit account balance summaries.
McConley also pleaded guilty in the fraud scheme. The court is scheduled to sentence him on Jan. 17, 2020.
However, Van Eman has pleaded not guilty. The court has scheduled Van Eman for trial on Feb. 18, 2020.