DVD Vending Machine Scam in Florida19 Jul, 2007 By: John Latchem
More defendants were charged with criminal fraud in a scheme to sell DVD vending machines in South Florida, according to the Justice Department. The charges stem from a federal crackdown on business opportunity fraud that has sent 60 people to prison over the past several years.
A federal grand jury in Miami returned a superseding indictment that charged Anthony Rocco Andreoni with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in connection with his involvement in American Entertainment Distributors Inc. (AED).
The indictment also charged Russell G. MacArthur Jr. with various fraud charges and criminal contempt. MacArthur originally was indicted in 2005, fled to Costa Rica and was recently extradited back to the United States.
Additionally, Neal Isanuk, a sales representative for the company, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
MacArthur and Andreoni were named as the founders of AED, a Hollywood, Fla.-based company that from 2003 to 2004 sold a business opportunity involving a DVD vending machine. AED allegedly exaggerated potential profits, falsely promised to secure good locations and referred buyers to phony references. Purchasers paid AED up to $40,000 for a machine. More than 400 customers lost $19 million in the scheme.
Nine others connected to AED have previously been convicted, including MacArthur's brother James, who is serving a 10-year sentence.