Man Indicted on Fraud and Identity Theft in Alleged Scheme Using Name of ‘I Love Lucy’ Production Company to Trick Investors

Man Indicted on Fraud and Identity Theft in Alleged Scheme Using Name of ‘I Love Lucy’ Production Company to Trick Investors

For his alleged actions, which allegedly entailed exploiting the Desilu moniker to con investors into providing him money to phony corporations, Charles Hensley, 68, has been charged with 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. An inquiry into Hensley’s enterprises by the FBI and the IRS led to the indictment. According to the prosecution, Hensley received $331,000 from a number of investors, which he utilized for travel to Las Vegas and other personal costs.

Desilu Studios Inc. was created in 2016 by Hensley, who runs it from offices in Manhattan Beach and other Southern California locations. The long-defunct television production business held by the late Arnaz and Ball, known for producing hit TV shows including “I Love Lucy,” “The Untouchables,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Star Trek,” had a name that was eerily similar to that of the new corporation. But Hensley had no official connections to the well-known couple.

According to the indictment, Hensley solicited funding for Desilu Studios and his additional business, Migranade Inc., between August 2017 and May 2018. He allegedly made up stories about his own financial status, claimed that his own money was backing the firms, gave investors phony valuation documents that said the companies were worth billions of dollars, and falsely claimed that Desilu was set to go public. Additionally, it is alleged in the indictment that he used someone else’s identity to pose as the chief financial officer of the fictitious studio in documents for sale.

In an effort to con investors out of their money, Hensley is also accused of making false claims about the intellectual property his companies had acquired and the way they were working on brand-new movies and TV shows. Hensley allegedly used the same false statements to sway a number of entertainment businesses to sell off their operations in exchange for Desilu Studio stock.

Hensley filed a copyright action against CBS before the investigation began since CBS now possesses the rights to the historical Desilu Productions shows and the Desilu name as a trademark. According to Reuters, Hensley claimed in a 2018 lawsuit against CBS that he had received permission to use the Desilu moniker from Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Ball and Arnaz. He added that CBS had not raised a concern when Hensley first submitted the trademark application.

Hensley will be subject to a mandatory two-year prison term for the charge of aggravated identity theft and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each of the 11 charges of wire fraud if found guilty. Kerry L. Quinn, an assistant US attorney from the Major Frauds Section, will oversee the prosecution. According to the prosecution, Hensley will be charged and arraigned in the “coming weeks.”

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