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15 Year Fugitive Pleads Guilty In Role Of $13 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

15 Year Fugitive Pleads Guilty In Role Of $13 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

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 worth millions.

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.

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