Distributor sentenced in movie financing scheme

May 12, 2010 8:50:28 PM PDT
A movie distributor who pleaded guilty to defrauding Comerica Bank as part of a scheme to finance independent films has been sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that 49-year-old Harel Goldstein used bogus contracts with foreign distributors to help secure more than $35 million in loans to produce six films featuring actors such as Peter O'Toole, Alicia Silverstone and Treat Williams.

Goldstein pleaded guilty in 2007.

In issuing the 46-month sentence, District Judge S. James Otero noted that Goldstein initially agreed to cooperate with the government but then lied to investigators by claiming the scheme was concocted by his business partner.