Judge freezes assets of producer of fake Clint Eastwood film
Jan. 07, 2016
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A man who persuaded investors to give him more than $24,000 to produce a cowboy documentary he claimed would be narrated by Clint Eastwood was permanently barred Thursday from soliciting investments in Montana.
Matthew McClintock, who also goes by the name of Michael Willis, told investors that the film would be aired in the U.S. and abroad by PBS and Fox. Instead, the film was bogus and McClintock spent the money on himself and to make interest payments to other investors, an indication of a possible Ponzi scheme, Montana security officials said.
"There was a substantial amount going out for the personal use of Mr. McClintock," said Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan.
That included drinks, food, entertainment, living expenses and a $575 cowboy hat, according to officials.
District Judge Mike Menahan issued a permanent injunction that bars McClintock from selling securities in the state, and the judge froze McClintock's assets and bank accounts.
McClintock did not appear at Thursday's court hearing. Menahan said McClintock called earlier to say he had an undisclosed medical emergency.
A message left at the Poverello Center, a Missoula homeless shelter where Egan said McClintock was staying, was not immediately returned.
McClintock previously acknowledged that he had never spoken with Eastwood, but insisted that he intended to produce the documentary.
McClintock told investors in 2014 and 2015 the film would have a prominent University of Montana history professor as an adviser and a portion of the proceeds would go to the Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund.
The professor was not involved in the film, and the Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund does not exist.
McClintock faces criminal charges that include theft and fraud. He has denied the charges, and the case is pending.
McClintock is on probation after pleading guilty in 2010 in a money-raising scam in southwestern Montana. He was previously convicted of fraud and obtaining money by false pretenses in Oklahoma.