Jason Van Eman, a producer and former actor, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for defrauding investors out of more than $60 million.
A federal judge in Florida delivered the sentence on Thursday after a jury found Van Eman, 44, guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, according to court records. He must also pay victims of his financing scheme over $9 million in restitution.
Prosecutors alleged Van Eman and co-defendant Benjamin McConley, operating as Weathervane Productions, offered to provide financing to investors seeking to produce independent movies, Broadway shows and music festivals, among other projects. He told his victims that he would match any contribution and use the capital to secure financing from financial institutions, the Justice Department claimed.
According to the indictment, Van Eman recruited a bank employee to assure defrauded investors that their investments had been matched and that their money was secure. When the victims demanded their money back, Van Eman blamed bank compliance issues, leading to several civil lawsuits against him. Van Eman continued to defraud investors to fund his legal defense. Prosecutors say he engaged an online reputation management firm to suppress news of accusations against him.
Van Eman was most recently credited as an executive producer on Assimilate, Camp Cold Brook and The Tale.
In 2021, McConley was sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The producers of stage adaptations of Bull Durham and Smokey Joe’s Café also sued UBS Bank for allegedly aiding Van Eman’s fraud. The case was dismissed after a judge found she doesn’t have jurisdiction over the bank’s parent company, based in Switzerland.