Vt moviemaker pleads guilty in film fraud scheme - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt moviemaker pleads guilty in film fraud scheme

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

Mac Parker left the Rutland Federal Courthouse Wednesday afternoon on his own recognizance, after admitting his role in what prosecutors call a $28 million Ponzi scheme.

He didn't want to talk with us, but investors like Pedie and Armond Brisson say they thought they were investing in their neighbor.

"My life's earnings; I farmed it for 50 years and he's got it all," Armond Brisson said. "I told many friends and then some of them invested, many did, and many are ripped at me right now because they got burned."

The couple says there was no sign of trouble until federal investigators froze Parker's assets and payments stopped. They had enjoyed returns better than 12.5 percent, as Parker found new investors to pay off old ones.

Prosecutors say Parker successfully raised more than $28 million to produce a film about the spiritual path taken by Parker and his mentor Dr. Lou Soteriou. But he only spent $700,000 on the movie. Soteriou allegedly spent most of the money completing his spiritual journey, with a promise to Parker that gained insight would allow him to predict winning lottery numbers.

"I don't understand why Mac couldn't see that there's no connection between spirituality and money," Pedie O'Brien Brisson said.

The Brissons say they thought of Mac as a friend, and don't know whether they believe his story that he was conned as well.

Prosecutors found it solid enough to offer him a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against his former doctor and mentor.

A sentencing date has not been set yet, because prosecutors and defense attorney say they'd like to proceed with the case against Parker's co-conspirator first.

Parker faces up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines for conspiracy to commit fraud and filing falsified tax documents.

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