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Man returns to U.S. to face charges

James S. Eberhart, formerly of Newport Beach, and his co-defendants raised more than $14 million from investors toward a fraudulent company, officials contend.

May 26, 2012|By Britney Barnes

A former Newport Beach resident charged for running a fraudulent Internet company returned to the U.S. on Thursday after fleeing the country in 1999.

James S. Eberhart, 71, was deported from Malaysia and expected in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, according to an FBI release.

Eberhart, along with co-defendants Eugene M. Carriere, Richard Hines and Kenneth Gottlieb, were indicted for allegedly operating YES Entertainment Network Inc., a fraudulent Newport Beach company that solicited investments over the phone for an 18-channel, multimedia, family-oriented website, according to court documents.

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Eberhart, specifically, who is accused of being a co-owner of YES Entertainment, was charged by the grand jury of 11 counts of mail fraud and nine counts of money laundering.

The defendants allegedly raised more than $14 million from investors — $3.9 million of which Carriere and Eberhart are accused of transferring to a banks in Asia for their personal use, according to the indictment.

Hines is accused of receiving more than $463,000 and Gottlieb more than $167,000.

The FBI received a tip as to Eberhart's location in Malaysia from a foreign law enforcement officer visiting the area, Los Angeles division FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller wrote in an email.

The FBI worked with the Malaysian police. Eberhart was deported because of his expired American passport.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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