Man sentenced to 7 years in film fraud scheme - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Man sentenced to 7 years in film fraud scheme

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A movie meant to deliver spiritual healing is sending Louis Soteriou to jail.

The Connecticut man is known as the silent partner in Mac Parker's never-completed film, A Birth of Innocence. Prosecutors say Parker raised $28-million for the film through an illegal Ponzi scheme.

But in Federal Court on Monday, Parker testified against his former business partner. Parker paid Soteriou more than $4 million to be an advisor on the film while Soteriou was on a spiritual journey -- and spending millions of investor dollars. Mac Parker testified against Soteriou saying, "Working with Lou, was a combination of inspiration and threat."

But Soteriou's lawyer says phone calls made by Parker to Soteriou, were "verbally abusive" and that they are "both villains" in the scheme.

Victims of the decade-long scheme also took the stand, saying regardless of which man was more to blame, millions of dollars are gone and both should face maximum penalties. And Judge Christina Reiss said that "Hundreds of victims will go away with nothing." She called it, "one of the biggest fraud schemes in Vermont."

Parker will be sentenced in court on Wednesday.

The judge also said that following the money was very telling in this scheme. In 2000, $500,000 was paid directly into Soteriou's pocket, while nothing was paid to the film or investors. Parker and Soteriou owe investors $9 million in restitution, but Judge Reiss says there is a slim chance many of those victims will see a dime back.

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