FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation

10/18/2019 | Press release | Archived content

Manhattan Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud Offense in Movie Investment Scam That Cost Overseas Investors $14 Million

LOS ANGELES - A Manhattan Beach man pleaded guilty to a fraud charge this afternoon in United States District Court and admitted bilking foreign investment groups out of $14 million by falsely claiming the money would be used to produce a feature film that Netflix would distribute.

Adam Joiner, 41, entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud before United States District Judge André Birotte Jr.

As a result of the guilty plea, Joiner will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by Judge Birotte on March 6, 2020.

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,' he admitted in a plea agreement filed in this case.

Joiner, who operated a company called Dark Planet Pictures, LLC, defrauded Korea Investment Global Contents Fund, a South Korean investment fund whose assets are managed by Korean Investment Partners Co., Ltd. (KIP), which suffered $8 million in losses. Joiner also defrauded a Chinese investment firm called Star Century Pictures Co., Ltd. and a related company called PGA Yungpark Capital Ltd, which invested $6 million into 'Legends.'

As part of the scheme, Joiner falsely told the investors that Netflix had agreed to distribute the picture, a claim Joiner supported with a bogus 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.

The FBI reviewed Dark Planet Pictures bank records and determined that approximately $5.2 million of the investors' money was used to purchase Joiner's Manhattan Beach residence and another $4.3 million was transferred to a bank account that may be linked to another film in development linked to Joiner.

This matter was investigated by the FBI.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander B. Schwab of the Major Frauds Section.