Producer Robert Evans, one of 250 defendants accused in a class action lawsuit of participating in a scheme to defraud investors of $ 6.4 million, denied any wrongdoing in the case.In a statement released Friday, Evans’ spokesman stated, “It is grossly misleading and a distortion of fact to single out Robert Evans as a defendant in this class action fraud suit. The fact is that Mr. Evans is merely one of over 250 defendants listed in this suit which is primarily against alleged defendants in the oil and gas business. “As even a cursory reading of the complaint (which has not yet been served upon Mr. Evans) will reveal, it represents a typical dragnet class action lawsuit relating primarily to oil and gas business interests with which Mr. Evans has no connection. Clearly Mr. Evans has been thrown into this melee by plaintiffs’ lawyers for the publicity value of his name and not because of any wrong-doing or any connection with any of the oil and gas defendants. In fact, neither Mr. Evans nor his company sold or issued any securities to the public in any form.” An investor group filed the class-action suit April 30. It ties Evans to an alleged scheme that the suit says involved between 6,500 and 8,000 private investors, who invested more than $ 160 million since 1983 in partnerships. According to the suit, which names David C. Knight and David H. Bryant as the principals behind the operation, the majority of the investments were in oil and gas related businesses and were sold by telephone “boiler room” staffs. Although the suit also says that the salespeople pushed unregistered securities in other companies such as Axiom Entertainment Inc., allegedly controlled by Evans and his partner, producer William McDonald, Evans claims that Axiom was never owned or controlled by him. The suit says about $ 6.4 million was collected for interests in Axiom and that Evans received $ 1.2 million from Axiom “in exchange for a percentage of rights in motion picture and television productions.” McDonald allegedly “dissipated” over $ 5 million raised from investors in less than six months. Reached Friday, Evans would not comment on the suit and said, “I would rather let the statement speak for me until I’ve had a chance to see the suit.”
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