Movie producer convicted in Ponzi scheme
SANTA ANA – A Laguna Niguel man was convicted of orchestrating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme to finance B-movies that starred celebrities like mixed martial arts fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and rapper Flavor Fav.
Mahmoud Karkehabadi, 56, was found guilty by an Orange County jury of 51 felony counts of securities fraud and grand theft, plus sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime and excessive taking.
He now faces a 30-year term in prison at his March 25 sentencing by Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey, Deputy Attorney General Patricia Fusco said.
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But the same jury of six men and six women found co-defendant Timothy Cho, 56, not guilty of 30 felony counts. Cho was president of Newport Coast Entertainment, which raised money to finance Karkehabadi’s movies.
He walked out Toohey’s courtroom smiling. “I’m so relieved,” Cho said. “This has been hanging over my head for two and a half years. It was very scary.”
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