18 charged in indie film investment scam

June 17, 2011 - 10:26 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eighteen people from Southern California and Florida are facing federal charges in an alleged telemarketing scam that solicited more than $25 million for independent films.

According to two indictments filed Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court, the defendants lied to investors nationwide and falsely promised 1,000 percent returns.

One indictment says Cinamour Entertainment LLC took about $15 million from about 450 victims to promote "From Mexico with Love," which cost $5 million to make and earned only half a million at the box office.

The other indictment alleges telemarketers for Q Media Assets LLC fraudulently raised about $9 million for a film called "Eye of the Dolphin" and a sequel. The film made about $70,000 and the sequel went straight to video.

The charges include conspiracy, mail and wire fraud.