Partner in movie-making fraud sentenced to 7 years
A Connecticut man convicted of being a participant in what has been described as one of the biggest frauds in Vermont's history was sentenced to seven years behind bars today.
Louis Soteriou, 56, of Middlebury, Conn., pleaded guilty in April in federal court in Rutland to charges of money laundering and conspiracy. Prosecutors said people invested in "Birth of Innocence" and that Soteriou had partnered with filmmaker Malcolm "Mac" Parker on the deal.
Judge Christina Reiss rejected the notion that Soteriou, a silent partner who was described as a "spiritual scout" of the film, had nothing but good intentions during the 10-year period he ecouraged Parker to solicit millions of dollars from hundreds of investors.
Describing the enterprise as a "Ponzi scheme," the judge said, "The idea that this all had a higher purpose is directly undermined by where the money was going. You paid to stay in expensive hotels and you paid for expesnvie medical procedures for your pets. ... If you truly had a higher purpose, the money would not be flowing in that direction."
Soteriou is required to surrend himself to federal authories before noon Oct. 1 to begin serving his seven-year sentence.