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Chinese VFX Firm Alleges Two American Swindlers Continue to Defraud Investors

Remington Chase
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Earlier this year, a Chinese VFX and animation studio revealed that it had been victimized by two American swindlers who had used the company’s name to defraud investors out of $234 million.

In a filing on Thursday, the company alleged that the two men — Remington Chase and Kevin Robl — are still trying to lure investors, even after the scam was exposed. The company, Base, filed for an injunction that would block the men from using its name to solicit further investments.

The whereabouts of Robl and Chase remain uncertain. They could not be reached for comment, and they have yet to respond to the federal lawsuit that Base filed against them in March. In the suit, CEO Chris Bremble alleged that he had been the victim of a con stretching back nine years, in which Robl and Chase gradually gained his trust and then used the relationship to scam investors. The suit accused Robl and Chase of forging documents, impersonating Bremble in investor calls, and siphoning off many millions for personal use.

Base, which also goes by Base Media and Base FX, is headquartered in Beijing. It has done effects work on “The Mandalorian,” “The Avengers” and “Captain America” and has produced an animated film, “Wish Dragon,” which was released in theaters in China and is available on Netflix.

According to the lawsuit, the scam began to unravel in late 2020, when investors began to contact the company seeking repayment of loans arranged by Robl and Chase. Base has received demands for repayment that totaled $234 million as of March, far exceeding the company’s $50 million valuation.

According to the latest filing, Robl and Chase have tried keep the con going, despite the lawsuit. In April, Bremble was contacted by a representative of a group of investors based in London, who had been pitched a $44.9 million investment in two Base films, “Meg 2: The Trench,” and a sequel to “Wish Dragon.” The pitch came from Stefan Martirosian, a former business partner of Chase’s, according to the filing. The investor group contacted Bremble after reading an article about the March lawsuit, and ultimately were dissuaded from investing.

The same month, Bremble heard that another investor had delivered $10 million to Robl, which was purported to be just a portion of a total $300 million investment.

“These two examples are just those that were recently brought to my attention,” Bremble said in a court declaration. “Absent injunctive relief from this Court, I fear that Chase and Robl will further harm Base, putative investors in Base projects, and irreparably damage Base’s brand and reputation.”

Robl and Chase would allegedly raise money through bundlers, many of whom drew on family and friend networks in the Chinese American community. On May 11, Joseph Tang filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In the complaint, Tang said he had worked for Chase and Robl as vice president of business development, and was paid a 5% commission on any money he raised. He said he traveled multiple times to Base FX’s facility in Malaysia, and was persuaded that Robl and Chase were well connected in the industry and that the investments were legitimate.

He said that he marketed investments in “Wish Dragon” and other projects to his family and friends, and that he also invested his own money. The suit seeks $19 million in damages, plus $100 million for damage to Tang’s reputation.

Another investor group, Friends of Production Capital II, filed a $21 million lawsuit against Robl on April 26, alleging that investors were deceived into making a $6 million loan for “Meg 2” and $11 million in loans for other productions. That lawsuit alleges that Robl admitted in December that he had used investor funds to pay off other creditors. The suit also accuses Robl of forging documents and stealing funds to enrich himself.

And on Aug. 8, bundler Vanessa Guo filed a federal lawsuit against Robl, Chase, Bremble and their companies. In the suit, she alleged that all three had conspired to dupe her investors out of at least $18 million.

“The scheme was orchestrated by cabal of Hollywood insiders who seized on an opportunity to line their own pockets with Chinese money,” Guo said her lawsuit. The suit accuses Bremble of working “hand in glove” with Robl and Chase “to lure Guo into mining her Chinese contacts for money to fund their Ponzi scheme.”

Guo’s company has also been named as a defendant in other investor suits.

Bremble and Base have likewise been named as a defendants in other suits. In one of them, Bremble’s lawyers argued that the plaintiffs had failed to properly serve him, as the complaint was mailed to a Los Angeles address that Bremble used to be associated with. Bremble has lived for more than a decade in Beijing. In a motion to quash service, Bremble’s lawyers said that Bremble had informed the plaintiff that they were all victims of a scam perpetrated by Robl and Chase.

Base has said that it contacted the FBI. An FBI spokesperson said the bureau could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.