The founder of a financial management firm targeting professional athletes and other wealthy individuals has been charged with stealing $2.35 million from clients to invest in movie projects.
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said Louis Martin Blazer III convinced some of his clients to invest in the two projects, entitled “Mafia the Movie” and “Sibling,” but was unable to raise the entire amount needed to complete production.
“To compensate for the shortfall, Blazer simply took funds from client accounts over which he had control, and used the money to finance the films,” the SEC said in a civil complaint.
Blazer, 45, of Clinton, Pa., formed Blazer Capital Management in 2008 to provide “premier” personal services to professional athletes, entertainers, and other high-worth individuals and families. His Blazer Advisors affiliate advised clients about investment opportunities.
“We allege that Blazer grossly abused the trust placed in him by his clients and repeatedly took their money without authorization,” Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York regional office, said in a news release.
Blazer has agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying liability. The settlement is subject to court approval with determination of disgorgement and financial penalties to be decided by a judge at a later date.
The SEC said Blazer defrauded five victims, none of whom it identified, between 2010 and 2012. According to the complaint, the production company for each project was an LLC with the plan being that investors would purchase interests in each LLC.
One alleged victim, the SEC said, was a pro athlete who rejected Blazer’s pitch to invest in the projects. Despite that, Blazer allegedly took $550,000 from the client’s account, forging documents and submitting them to the client’s brokerage firm to make it appear the transfer had been authorized.
After the client discovered Blazer had made the investment, he demanded his money back, according to the SEC. Blazer allegedly made the client whole in Ponzi-like fashion, taking the money from the account of another pro athlete.
“In fact, neither [client] approved any transaction relating to the investment of their funds in any movie projects,” the SEC said.