A California man has admitted to defrauding investment groups — nabbing $14 million — by falsely claiming the money would be used to produce a feature film for Netflix.
On Oct. 18, Adam Joiner, 41, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court, according to federal authorities. Joiner, who was arrested in August, will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. on March 6, 2020.
According to the FBI, Joiner used fake documents and forged signatures to raise millions of dollars from foreign investment firms based in South Korea and China for a movie project he said would be called “Legends.” Joiner operated a company called Dark Planet Pictures LLC. His fake company defrauded South Korean-based Korea Investment Global Contents Fund out of $8 million as well as a Chinese investment firm called Star Century Pictures Co. Ltd. and a related company called PGA Yungpark Capital Ltd, which invested $6 million into the bogus movie project, federal authorities said.
As part of the scheme, Joiner falsely told the investors that Netflix had agreed to distribute the picture, a claim he backed up with a fake distribution agreement that contained the forged signature of a Netflix executive. Joiner subsequently told the investors that he had terminated the distribution agreement with Netflix and had secured a new agreement with Amblin Partners — all of which was false.
According to FBI investigators who reviewed Dark Planet Pictures’ bank records, Joiner used about $5.2 million of the investors’ money to purchase his Manhattan Beach residence while $4.3 million was transferred to a bank account that may be linked to another film Joiner had in development.