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Moviemakers arrested on fraud charges

Posted: June 18, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 18, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Two local men are among 18 people arrested this week for allegedly fleecing $25 million from would-be movie investors through a telemarketing scam.

Allen Bruce Agler, 54, of Canyon County, and Brian Emmanuel Ellis, 35, of Saugus, were among those arrested Thursday on federal fraud charges stemming from “boiler-room operations” in which they allegedly solicited investments for independent films “From Mexico With Love” and “Red Water: 2012.”

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service arrested the pair and 16 others, all of whom now face fraud and money-laundering charges, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Cazares with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

A former CIA agent who ran a Burbank movie company called Q Media Assets was among the 18 arrested.

The suspects solicited investments in independent movies with false promises of up to a 1,000-percent return on investment, and misrepresentations as to how investor funds would be used, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Federal agents arrested both Santa Clarita men at their homes Thursday without incident, Cazares said, describing the arrests as uneventful.

Both local men are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and offering unregistered securities for sale.

Agler, who allegedly used the name Paul Kingman to raise money for “From Mexico With Love,” earned a movie credit as Paul Kingman, producer of the 2010 Q Media movie “Beneath The Blue,” starring David Keith, Cazares said.

“Movies got made, which makes our case more difficult,” he said. “So it wasn’t a pure rip, taking all the money.

“They did make movies, but they lived the unique Hollywood life,” he said, noting little more than one-third of investor funds were used to actually produce and promote “From Mexico With Love.”

Agents made the arrests following two indictments handed down Wednesday by a federal grand jury.


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