A Hollywood producer was indicted yesterday on charges of swindling millions of dollars from dozens of people he had conned into investing in a phantom television series based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Los Angeles Times reports. Joseph Medawar has been held without bail since his arrest in September. In a federal indictment, he faces five counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, and two counts of obstructing justice. Medawar’s former chief financial officer has agreed in a plea bargain to testify against his former boss.
Medawar began shopping his idea for a Homeland Security series in 2003. He persuaded two California congressmen from Orange County, Republicans Christopher Cox and Dana Rohrabacher, as well as House Homeland Security Committee staffers, to provide advice on how to make the show more realistic. His film crew shot action scenes at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for a promotional trailer, and he made political donations that got him access to high-profile, invitation-only GOP events. Medawar allegedly spent most of the money on a lavish lifestyle for himself and the show’s lead actress, Alison Heruth-Waterbury.