WOODLAND HILLS—Two men from Los Angeles were sentenced to prison on February 9 for organizing a $21 million scheme that embezzled millions from more than 730 victims. The two men promised large profits to those who invested in a movie production company and in a 3D animated movie titled “OZ3D” which was allegedly based on the adventure film “Wizard of Oz.”
The suspects were identified as Christopher Blauvelt, 59, a former Woodland Hills resident, and David Pritchard, 67, of Hollywood. According to reports, Blauvelt and Pritchard were convicted at trial last year for federal charges including mail fraud, wire fraud and offering for sale unregistered securities.
Blauvelt has been sentenced to serve up to eight years behind bars and Pritchard was given up to five years in prison. They are both scheduled for a restitution hearing on April 20.
Gigapix was a company founded by Blauvelt in 2002 and Pritchard joined in 2006. They hired telemarketers to approach potential investors. They also raised money to produce “OZ3D.”
The investors were told that Gigapix was a financially successful company, and that they would receive high returns on their investments in less than 18 months, and that the investments carried little or no risk. Investors were also told that space was limited to those who wanted to invest in Gigapix and “OZ3D.”
Prosecutors wrote the following in sentencing documents. “This case involves an egregious fraud of massive proportions that targeted non-wealthy victims who the defendants heartlessly misled. The effects of this crime on the victims are truly devastating in every way.”