California Man Accused of Scamming Investors Out of $14M With Faux Netflix Deal

Courtesy of Netflix
Netflix

Adam Joiner has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

A Manhattan Beach resident on Tuesday surrendered to federal authorities to face federal charges that he allegedly bulked investors out of millions over a fake Netflix deal.

Adam Joiner, 41, allegedly collected $14 million from investors who were falsely told their money would be used to produce a Netflix feature film packed with stars, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Joiner, who made his initial court appearance Tuesday in Los Angeles, has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

According to the criminal complaint filed Aug. 13 and unsealed Tuesday, Joiner allegedly used fake documents and forged signatures to raise millions from foreign investment firms based in South Korea and China for a project he allegedly said would be titled Legends, described in court papers as “an anachronistic mash-up of legendary and historical figures from nineteenth-century America, such as Davy Crockett, Calamity Jane, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry.”

Joiner, who operated a company called Dark Planet Pictures, LLC, allegedly met with investors and provided a script for the faux film and showed a forged Netflix distribution agreement, feds say.

As the funds from the multiple investors began to roll in, Joiner allegedly told them Hollywood producer Don Murphy had joined the project.

"While Murphy was retained to produce the film and secure a distribution agreement, no distributor was identified, no talent was secured, and no director committed to the film, the complaint alleges. Murphy terminated his arrangement with Joiner in mid-2017," according to court documents.

The lies began to break down and Joiner allegedly made excuses as to why the project was not moving forward. A large portion of the invested funds was already gone, feds say.

"The FBI reviewed Dark Planet Pictures bank records and determined that more than $5 million of the investors’ money was used to purchase Joiner’s Manhattan Beach residence and another $4.3 million was transferred to a bank account that may be linked to another film in development linked to Joiner," courts documents state.

Joiner faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years for the charge of wire fraud and the money laundering offense could lead to a sentence of up to 10 years, according to authorities. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison term.

It is unclear whether Joiner has retained an attorney.