2 plead guilty in $60 million film financing fraud scheme in South Florida

Posted at 5:09 AM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 05:10:23-04

MIAMI (AP) — A film producer and a former banker have pleaded guilty to participating in a $60 million movie financing fraud scheme in South Florida.

Court records show 30-year-old Benjamin Rafael pleaded guilty Wednesday in Miami federal court 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.

An indictment says McConley and his partner, Jason Van Eman, claimed to be film producers and financiers. Investigators say they offered to match contributions from other investors to produce movies, plays and other projects but actually stole the money.

Prosecutors say Rafael, a former Wells Fargo employee, helped to deceive the victims about the security of their funds.

Van Eman is scheduled for trial in February.