A Nevada man who posed as a public relations “coordinator” at Paramount Pictures has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge for convincing hardware suppliers to send him materials after promising that the companies would see their products placed into a feature film.
Andy James, 39, of Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charge in February in United States District Court in Los Angeles. This morning, in a case filed by the United States Attorney’s Office in Spokane, Washington, James pleaded guilty to three counts of making false claims for filing tax returns that fraudulently sought more than $32,000 in tax refunds.
To facilitate the wire fraud scheme, James pretended to be “Carson Rogan,” who was purportedly employed by “Paramount Public Relations.” In a plea agreement filed in federal court in Los Angeles, James admitted that he sent hundreds of fraudulent emails over the wires that misled vendors by telling them that their products would be used in a Paramount Pictures film production in exchange for product placement and advertising. As part of the scheme, James registered the Internet domain name “Paramountpublicrelations.com” and created the email address “[email protected]”
Using the bogus email address, James sent emails to Martin Doors in Salt Lake City which solicited the company to donate construction materials for use in a phony film project, “The World is My Stage.” In fact, James wanted a garage door and related hardware to install on his house.
As a result of James’ scheme, Martin Door and several other companies suffered losses of at least $285,000.
James conducted the Paramount public relations scam after being freed on bond in a tax case filed in the Eastern District of Washington. In relation to that, James pleaded guilty this morning in Los Angeles to three counts of filing fraudulent claims with the Internal Revenue Service. James, who formerly resided in Greenacres, Washington, filed tax returns for the years 2001 through 2003 that sought more than $32,000 in refunds that he was not entitled to receive.
James pleaded guilty in both cases before United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 21. James faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in the wire fraud case, and a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in the tax case.
The wire fraud case was investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The tax case was investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation, Seattle Field Office.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Mark R. Aveis
Release No. 08-050