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Department of Hollywood Scams Evidence Files

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The Scheme

Joseph Medawar is a charming, intelligent, moderately successful, churchgoing man. He's a Hollywood producer and owner of Steeple Entertainment, which is promoting a new action-adventure show called DHS: The Series. (DHS stands for Department of Homeland Security). Who would question the show's legitimacy? (Source: Ramey Photo Agency)

Congress Goes Hollywood

In 2003, Joseph Medawar pays Congressman Dana Rohrabacher $23,000 for the option to make Rohrabacher's script, "Baja", into a film. This transaction introduces Medawar to the Washington, D.C. political scene at its highest level. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

The Bait

Joseph Medawar promotes DHS: The Series using a Web site complete with the show's promotional trailer. According to Assistant US Attorney David Willingham, "The DHS website was essentially the soup to nuts of the lies of the investigation." (Source: Public Domain)

Perfect Shot

Joseph Medawar and Alison Heruth-Waterbury, leading actress in DHS, attend political fundraising dinners, where they are photographed with the President and First Lady. These photos attract investors for their series from D.C. to Hollywood. Medawar tells investors that HBO and Fox have made offers to buy DHS. (Source: Public Domain)

Convinced

Mortgage broker Ramon Alvarado is one of 70 investors who contribute to the DHS television series. Ramon says, "having the blessing of the President, it sounded good." Alvarado eagerly awaits Steeple Entertainment to have its IPO, but in the end, he loses $120 thousand to Medawar's scheme. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

FBI and IRS on the Hunt

In 2004, FBI Agent Paul Bertrand and IRS Agent Walt Finnigan suspect Joseph Medawar of fraud. Medawar was also cited in 2001 for selling fake stock for another company. When agents track Medawar's finances, they find that Medawar is spending investors' money as quickly as he receives it. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

Lavish Life

Joseph Medawar spends a portion of investor money on a $40-thousand-per-month mansion in Beverly Hills for the star of his series, Alison Heruth-Waterbury. Medawar and Heruth-Waterbury travel first class - limousines, five star hotels, jewelry and shopping sprees. (Source: Public Domain)

Medawar Targets Churches

When Medawar's personal expenses exceed his business expenses, he searches for new investors. He targets southern California churches, pitching his show's religious themes. A member of Dessert Bloom Ministries, Murray Spencer, takes out a $57 thousand equity loan on her house. When the scam comes crashing down, Spencer loses her home. (Source: Kurtis Productions)

The Punishment

In September 2005, Joseph Medawar is arrested. In May 2006, he cuts a deal with prosecutors and pleads guilty to two counts of tax evasion and mail fraud. In exchange, he is sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $3.4 million to the victims. Alison Heruth-Waterbury also takes a deal and gets five years probation. Medawar still hasn't paid back his victims. (Source: DHS Website)