October 2005 I was solicited by a Russ Spangler, a congenial, melifluous colleague of David Borg, executive producer of TAG Entertainment, to invest in a new children's movie, William Tell. I had just received $25,000 from a real estate loan I'd made to a friend that I never thought I'd see again and felt this company and movie would be a good place to invest my surprise payment. I was given glowing reports of previous movies which I immediately recognized and was sent a glitzy package with brochures of the movie productions, list of 20 produced and acquired movies, and photos of 40 very well known stars who had appeared in their films.
I sent in the $25,000 and that was about the end of it. I called back to speak with Russ Spangler as I'd been promised my first dividend check in about 4 months. He was no longer with the company. The secretary, Rena, was very pleasant and got the head, David Borg, on the phone with me immediately. He reassured me that there had been some delays but it was starting to shoot in a few weeks. Indeed later in the fall of 2006 I received an invitation to attend the party celebrating the completion of the film. I run a bed abd breakfast in Phoenix so couldn't attend.
I still believed in them at this point as they'd even sent me an open invitation to stop by the production studios and observe the filming and editing process as one of their "special investors." The film was set to be released for the Christmas season of 2006 but didn't appear. I watched all of the movie ads eagerly and was promised my own DVD version in advance of the movie going into the aftermarket. Nothing.
I called David Borg on the phone number he'd given me after the one in the brochure was disconnected. I think it was his cell phone because he actually answered the call himself! Not to worry, too many kids films had been released for Christmas 2006 and it was coming out in summer 2007 during school vacation. Still no film appeared.
I began to get the uneasy feeling I'd been duped but didn't know where to turn to. I didn't bother digging out the folder and calling them. It was a long term investment, the stock market was not doing too well either, I was used to staying the course with this type of investment, and I didn't need the money to live on anyway. I was busy with my business and getting it ready for sale, so forgot about William Tell. It was a reputable company and they'd eventually release my film and the checks would start pouring in!
Now in September 2008 my business is in the process of being sold and I'm reviewing my financial status to minimize my tax impact from the payments that are about to start coming in from its sale. It's nearing the end of the 2008 tax year and I want to spread income/losses over two tax years, so I thought I'd look into TAG Entertainment and see if that was a $25,000 loss I'd need to take for being a fool and getting taken by smooth talking movie tycoon types.
I googled TAG and got an eyeful from the recent arrests, convictions, and incarcerations of Lou Pearlman and Steve Austin. David Borg seems to be out of the picture with my $25,000 in his back pocket or who knows where.
I'm an intelligent person and normally a savvy investor, leaving investments all up to my investment professional, who doesn't know I did this and now I'm too embarrassed to tell him. Only my tax accountant will know as I take the loss against the profit I made from my business sale!
I see a class action suit online brought by individuals for another sham movie by TAG, but nothing on William Tell yet. I'm sure there's nothing left to gain by spending money with a personal lawyer trying to get a settlement, but I'd be interested in joining a classs action suit against these Ponzi scheme perpetrators!
You're never too old to learn this type of lesson. I took a risk after studying how movies are made and that money is typically raised this way by reputable companies, which TAG had been up to this point. Apparently somebody got greedy and spent the assets on "personal" items. Those needs can spin out of control very quickly if you're out of control yourself or are feeding any form of addiction whether it be drugs, high rolling living, Vegas, expensive cars and homes, etc. I'm not alleging that any of these folks specifically did any of that, but one would wonder what the money was spent on if the movies were never made!