SANTA MONICA-On Wednesday, April 7, the Department of Justice announced that a former Santa Monica and Orange County resident has been charged with defrauding more than 100 investors out of $14 million.

Ronald Shane Flynn, a.k.a. “Ronnie Shane,” 57, who is believed to be residing abroad, has been charged with 15 counts of wire fraud for using boiler room tactics to fraudulently offer a “pre-IPO” investing opportunity in his entertainment and online streaming company, then using the funds to support his lavish lifestyle.

Flynn was the operator and founder of Vuuzle Media Corp., which purported to be a streaming media business with offices in Las Vegas, New York, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, and other locations throughout the world, according to the indictment.

“From September 2016 to the present, Flynn falsely represented to investors that Vuuzle was a pre-IPO (initial public offering) investment opportunity that would provide high returns when it went public,” the Department of Justice said in an official announcement. “To raise investor money, Flynn, through Vuuzle, hired a salesforce to solicit investors to purchase Vuuzle stock, according to the indictment. Although Vuuzle’s paperwork with federal securities regulators indicated Vuuzle would pay no commissions, Flynn allegedly paid large commissions to his salesforce and independent stock promoters.”

It is alleged that Flynn falsely told investors that their money would be used to build and operate Vuuzle’s online streaming business, as well as to take the company public, and according to the indictment, he also promised investors they would receive dividend payments from their investments.

It is further alleged that based on Vuuzle’s filed tax returns, Vuuzle never made a profit, and Flynn did not intend to conduct an IPO for Vuuzle. Vuuzle could never make a public offering on any public stock exchange because it did not have audited financials and Vuuzle has never paid dividends to any investor since its inception in 2016.

Flynn allegedly took a large portion out of the $14 million raised in investor funds to support his lavish lifestyle, including purchases at jewelry merchants and resorts, using a credit card paid for by Vuuzle.

Flynn would face a maximum sentence of 300 years in federal prison if convicted as charged.

The FBI investigated this matter and Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Waier is prosecuting this case.