Jason Van Eman, a producer and former actor, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for defrauding investors of more than $60 million.
A federal judge in Florida delivered the verdict on Thursday after a jury found Van Eman, 44, guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, according to court records. He also has to pay the victims of his financing plan more than $9 million in restitution.
Prosecutors alleged that Van Eman and co-defendant Benjamin McConley, operating as Weathervane Productions, have offered to provide funding to investors seeking to produce independent films, Broadway shows and music festivals, among other things. He told his victims he would double any contribution and use the capital to secure funding from financial institutions, the Justice Department claimed.
According to the indictment, Van Eman recruited a bank employee to assure cheated investors that their investments were matched and their money was safe. When the victims demanded their money back, Van Eman blamed bank compliance, which led to several civil lawsuits against him. Van Eman continued to scam investors to fund his legal defense. Prosecutors say he engaged an online reputation management company to suppress news of allegations against him.
Van Eman was most recently credited as an executive producer on Assimilate, Camp Cold Brook and The story.
In 2021, McConley was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The stage adaptation producers of Taurus Durham and Smokey Joe’s Cafe also sued UBS Bank for allegedly complicity in Van Eman’s fraud. The case was dropped after a judge ruled that she has no jurisdiction over the bank’s parent company, which is based in Switzerland.