Montana state judge Mike Menahan has frozen the assets of Matthew McClintock and also issued a permanent injunction freezing the assets of McClintock, who also uses the name Michael Willis following charges of securities fraud brought by the Montana State Auditor. The charges relate to McClintock’s soliciting of investors for a documentary about cowboys that would be narrated by Clint Eastwood and broadcast on PBS and Fox. In the course of his soliciting investors, McClintock told them that the movie would have a prominent University of Montana history professor advising the film and a portion of the movie’s profits would be given to the Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund. Unfortunately, neither Clint Eastwood nor the history professor were involved with the project, PBS and Fox had never heard of the movie and the Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund does not exist. According to Montana security officials, the money collected from swindled investors went primarily to McClintock’s own use with some going for interest payments to other investors which is a telltale sign of a Ponzi scheme. McClintock has also been charged criminally in regard to the movie project and is presently already on probation in Montana following a 2010 conviction for a money-raising scam. He had been previously convicted of securities fraud in Oklahoma.
Investing in anything carries risk. Investing in the making of a movie is incredibly risky even when the movie project is legitimate. No one should ever consider investing in anything that they do not understand. This is a rule that would have saved Bernie Madoff’s victims millions of dollars because as Madoff himself later admitted, if people had carefully looked into what he said he was doing, they would have recognized it could not have been done. In addition to investigating the particular investment, you should also investigate the company and, most importantly in this case, the person selling the investment to you. Had McClintock’s investors checked him out, they would have found that he had already been convicted of securities fraud.