A Hollywood executive who spent millions in stolen investments on a seven-room mansion in Beverly Hills and a new Tesla was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for defrauding a New York investment fund of $30 million.
William Sadleir, 68, pleaded guilty in January to two counts of wire fraud for separate schemes. As part of his sentence, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Engelmayer imposed more than $31.5 million in fines and restitution and three years of post-release supervision.
Sadleir, also convicted in March of scamming the PPP program in California, was involved in the independent film studio’s production of “A Private War” starring Rosamund Pike in 2018 and other films. He was a special assistant and director of presidential appointments for President Reagan early in his career.
The CEO of Aviron Pictures, between 2015 and 2019, Sadleir solicited a $75 million investment from what the feds described as a publicly traded, closed-end investment fund worth $600 million. According to a civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was the BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust. BlackRock, Inc. is the largest money manager on Wall Street and the world, managing trillions in assets.
Sadleir said BlackRock’s investment would go toward pre-paid media credits with the ad placement company MediaCom Worldwide. In reality, he illegally transferred at least $25 million from the fund to a sham company — including $14 million for a mansion with a “man cave” and a new Tesla.
Sadleir staffed the shell company with a fake woman named Amanda Stevens. He pretended to be “Stevens” — assuaging investors’ concerns over email — and when the questions got tough, pretended she was on maternity leave.
“William Sadleir portrayed himself as a successful Hollywood mogul, but behind the scenes, he engaged in brazen and calculated schemes to defraud a New York investment fund out of over $30 million using a fake company, fake documents, and even a fake identity,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
“Sadleir went so far as to masquerade as a female advertising executive on maternity leave as part of an effort to cover up his crimes.”
Sadleir was also convicted of engineering the fraudulent sales and refinancing of $3 million in the same fund’s assets. According to court records, that included forging one of their portfolio managers’ signatures on releases. BlackRock sued him over it in 2019, court records show.
Sadleir’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment.