Dror Soref, director of the 2009 Paz Vega-Simon Baker film “Not Forgotten,” has been charged with 56 counts of securities fraud for allegedly hatching a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of more than $21 million, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Soref, who also directed the “Weird Al” Yankovic video “I Love Rocky Road,” also faces 15 counts of sale of unregistered securities and one count of device, scheme or artifice to defraud a securities transaction. The filmmaker faces up to 75 years in state prison if convicted.
Michelle Seward has also been charged in the case.
According to prosecutors, victims purchased unqualified, non-exempt securities to help raise money for the 2009 film (pictured above), lured with the promise of double-digit returns on their investments that carried no risk. Some victims lost as much as $395,000, the District Attorney’s office said.
Nearly 140 investors were affected, most of them elderly, according to the district attorney. Seward and Soref are accused of using money from new investors to pay prior victims, as well as pay themselves and their employees.
Soref, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is due in court Nov. 16 for a preliminary hearing. Seward is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.