EFFINGHAM, Ga. – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the founders of Medient Studios (later became Moon River Studios) with fraud on Friday.
The SEC says Manu Kumaran, the founder and former CEO and Chariman of what was Medient Studios, schemed with his successor Jake Shapiro to make false and misleading statements in press releases and corporate filings.
Those statements claimed that construction on largest movie studio in North America was underway and the studio would be built. But the SEC claims Kumaran and Shapiro knew they had nowhere near the amount of funding necessary to do so.
The charges also claim that Kumaran, Shapiro, and Roger Miguel, the CEO of a separate company, backdated and falsified promissory notes in order to issue common stock in exchange for financing. Some of that stock was purchased by Effingham Residents News 3 spoke with.
The SEC says nothing materialized from the promises of Kumaran or Shapiro, but the two enriched themselves in the process.
Kumaran is alleged to have spent an average of $1700 dollars a day on travel and personal expenses. Shapiro allegedly too funds from the company for personal use and lived in a million dollar home, paid for by the company.
The case will be tried by the U.S> Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Georgia.