A federal judge sentenced Adam Joiner, 43, of Manhattan beach to 97 months in federal prison for defrauding Asian investment firms out of $14 million by falsely claiming the he would use the money to produce a feature film distributed by Netflix. Then , while out on bond, he illegally sold the Manhattan Beach house he bought with the investment firm's money by forging the signatures of his victims' lawyers. The judge also ordered Joiner to pay $14 million in restitution. Joiner pleaded guilty in October 2019 to one count of wire fraud and, in December 2019, to an additional count of wire fraud.
The prosecutors claimed that 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” and would depict American folklore icons such as Paul Bunyan and John Henry. 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., which suffered $8 million in losses. Joiner also defrauded a Chinese investment firm called Star Century Pictures Co. Ltd., and its affiliate PGA Yungpark Capital Ltd., which invested $6 million into “Legends.”
To get the money, 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 then told the investors that he had ended the distribution agreement with Netflix and got a new agreement with Amblin Partners, all of which was false.
Joiner used about $5.2 million of investors' money to buy himself a Manhattan Beach residence and he transferred another $4.3 million to a bank account held by Joiner that may be linked to developing an unrelated film. The prosecutors claimed that while misappropriating the investors' money, Joiner “continued to dissemble, concocting tales of contract negotiations with director Guillermo del Toro and a new distribution agreement with Amblin Partners in an effort to lull his victims into complacency.”
After signing his plea agreement but before he entered his guilty plea in this case, Joiner in October 2019 sold the Manhattan Beach house by using forged signatures to remove the liens the investors had placed on the house. Joiner then pleaded guilty to another wire fraud in December 2019.
As part of the case, the government seized $5,572,581 from accounts belonging to Joiner, $4 million of which has already been returned to KIGCF.