Washington D.C., Feb. 20, 2014 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three California residents with defrauding investors in a purported multi-million dollar movie project that would supposedly star well-known actors and generate exorbitant investment returns.
The SEC alleges that Los Angeles-based attorney Samuel Braslau was the architect of the fraudulent scheme that raised money through a boiler room operation spearheaded by Rand Chortkoff of Encino, Calif. High-pressure salespeople including Stuart Rawitt persuaded more than 60 investors nationwide to invest a total of $1.8 million in the movie first titled Marcel and later changed to The Smuggler. Investors were falsely told that actors ranging from Donald Sutherland to Jean-Claude Van Damme would appear in the movie when in fact they were never even approached. Instead of using investor funds for movie production expenses as promised, Braslau, Chortkoff, and Rawitt have spent most of the money among themselves. The investor funds that remain aren’t enough to produce a public service announcement let alone a full-length motion picture capable of securing the theatrical release promised to investors.