William Sadleir  was sentenced to six years in prison for his participation in two fraudulent schemes relating to investments made by a New York-based investment fund (the “Fund”) in indie film distributor Aviron Pictures, LLC and its affiliated entities. Sadleir pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one relating to each of the schemes.
 
Sadleir was the chair and chief executive officer of Aviron and oversaw its operations from in or about 2015 until in or about December 2019.

In the Advertising Scheme, Sadleir  misappropriated millions of dollars that the Fund had invested in Aviron. Sadleir  represented to the Fund that Aviron had invested this money in pre-paid media credits with the advertising placement company MediaCom Worldwide. Sadleir  actually  used a sizable part of those funds for his personal benefit, including to purchase a private residence in Beverly Hills for approximately $14 million dollars.

 In the other scheme, Sadleir  engineered the illicit and fraudulent sale and refinancing of assets worth more than $3 million that secured the Fund’s loans to Aviron. Sadleir  used the forged signature of one of the Fund’s portfolio managers on releases to remove the liens on certain secured assets. He  did so in order to sell or refinance the assets without the Fund’s consent, thus depriving the Fund of its collateral on outstanding loans.

In addition to the prison term, the Judge sentenced Sadleir  to three years of supervised release and ordered Sadleir  to pay $31,597,000 in forfeiture and restitution.
Sadleir was expelled from Aviron in 2020 after he and the company were sued by BlackRock for fraud. He was later charged by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 68-year-old producer has also pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud charges for pocketing nearly $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans meant to help Aviron stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Criminal Complaint

SEC Complaint