The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the owner of a film distribution company for running a scheme to misappropriate nearly $14 million from the BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust (BIT) through a sham company and forged signatures.
The SEC alleged Friday that BIT, a registered closed-end management investment company, invested about $75 million in Aviron Group, a film distribution company founded, owned and operated by William Sadleir. Sadlier financed the venture via two notes, which were securities issued in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
In 2017, Sadleir fraudulently diverted more than $25 million to the entity he owned and “falsely represented to BIT that the sham company was affiliated with a legitimate media company performing work to market and promote Aviron’s business,” the complaint states.
The complaint also alleges that Sadleir represented that the investments would be used to support the company’s distribution of films.
Sadlier, founder and chairman of indie distributor Aviron Pictures, was ousted by the fledgling company’s financier, two insiders familiar with his exit told Variety in January.
Details on the Scam, Spending
“Contrary to these representations, Sadleir allegedly used a sham company as a vehicle to fraudulently divert and misappropriate BIT funds and issued fake invoices seeking BIT funds for services that were never provided,” the complaint states.