California man accused of defrauding 7 Ala. investors out of over $1.4 million
Prosecutors said scheme involved movies that weren’t made
SHELBY Co., Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Securities Commission investigators announced David Matthew Ranes pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in Shelby County for defrauding seven Alabama investors out of over $1.4 million.
Ranes is scheduled to be sentenced on December 6, 2021 by Circuit Judge Lara Alvis.
Prosecutors said as part of his plea agreement, Ranes was ordered to pay $1,028,194.82 in restitution. Ranes’ plea is the result of a November 2016 indictment by the Shelby County Grand Jury. After the indictment, investigators said Ranes took off and was finally apprehended in May 2019.
Investigators said as part of his scheme, Ranes told investors their funds would be used to produce movies, but instead, most of the invested funds were used by Ranes to pay personal and unrelated expenses, and to make payments to co-conspirators and payments to other investors. In his pitch, investors were told large sums of additional funding had been committed to filming movies, when no such funding had been acquired, and Ranes misrepresented the anticipated production dates of the films and the dates of repayment. Prosecutors said Ranes failed to tell investors that he had unsuccessfully attempted to produce the films for many years and that his previous film company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy.
Neither Ranes, nor the investments he offered and sold to Alabama investors, were registered with the ASC, as required by the Alabama Securities Act.
The ASC expresses their gratitude to District Attorney Jill Lee of the 18th Judicial Circuit of Shelby County Alabama and her staff for their exceptional work on this case and their dedication to protecting Alabama residents from fraud.
The ASC cautions investors to thoroughly research any investment opportunity. Call the ASC at 1-800-222-1253 and ask for the registration department to check out persons offering investment opportunities, investment advice for a fee and any products they offer. Contact the ASC to report suspected fraud, inappropriate securities business practices, or to obtain consumer information.
The offense is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.
Court documents indicate Ranes lives in California.
Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.