James Eberhart, 73, pleaded guilty for his role in an internet scheme that
swindled investors out of $13 million. Eberhart and his partner, Eugene
Carriere, ran a fake company, YES Entertainment Network Inc., that advertised
to be creating an 18-channel, family-oriented entertainment website which
began offering its stock in 1999, with the promise of early investments
YES Entertainment Network Inc., used dozens of telemarketing firms and
a celebrity spokesman, actor Tom Bosley, to lure money from investors.
1% of the funds contributed by investors went to constructing the company
website and 45% of the funds were used to pay sales commissions and telemarketers.
The huge remaining balance of the funds was wired into offshore corporations
bank accounts formed by Eberhart.
The scheme ended when Federal investigators served a search warrant at
the offices of the telemarketing companies associated with YES Inc. After
the search warrant was issued, Eberhart destroyed company files and fled
the country. Eberhart remained a fugitive from 1999 until 2012 when the
FBI received a tip that Eberhart was living in Malaysia on his 58-foot
yacht. Eberhart was deported from Malaysia back to the United States due
to his passport being expired.
Eberhart was arrested after arriving back into the United States and pleaded
guilty to two counts of mail fraud.