Carlos Keyes Faces Five Criminal Charges For Alleged Film Scams: Exclusive
Steve Mack/Getty Images – Carlos Keyes
Carlos Keyes attends the 2014 Tourette Syndrome Awareness Benefit at Level R on June 12, 2014 in New York City.
Red Entertainment Agency Founder and President Carlos Keyes and some of his alleged associates are staring at a number of criminal charges, with his next trial date set in October.
Keyes (aka Carlos Fernandez) and Stuart Shiloh Hinds are accused by the State of New York of first-degree scheme to defraud, three counts of second-degree grand larceny, and third-degree grand larceny for their involvement in the films “McCabe and Little Jessie,” “The Role Model,” and “MENA.”
Keyes already faces a default judgement of $2.7 million from last year in a civil suit brought against him and other individuals for his involvement in “McCabe and Little Jessie.” One of the plaintiffs in that case, Jordan Rhodes, told Pollstar he and his partner Joseph Torrina have “yet to collect a single dime” of that judgement.
The accusers in that civil suit state that Keyes negotiated a deal on behalf of The ISM Group, LLC (dba Independent Film Partners) to finance the film “McCabe and Little Jessie,” but IFP allegedly stole money deposited in an escrow account, forcing cancellation of production. Keyes previously told Pollstar he was never an agent of IFP and cannot be held liable for that organization’s actions, as all he did was broker a deal between potential financers and filmmakers for an executive producer credit and profit-sharing participation of 4 percent.
Jean Gerard Legagneur, Jr., William Summers and Donald Zsemonadi are also charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, but the bulk of charges are levied at Keyes and Hinds.
“Independent Film Partners, a bogus company operated by Carlos Keyes and Shiloh Hinds, should be exposed for what they are — a scam,” Rhodes previously told Pollstar. “They never had offices at 1501 Broadway, which is on their letterhead, and Carlos Keyes and his cohorts never had the funds they claimed or had any intention of producing our film. They sent bogus checks and a bogus wire transfer claiming funds for $1 million and refused to return any of our funds, well over a quarter of a million dollars, because they had spent it for their own personal use.”
Documents obtained by Pollstar indicate an investigation has been conducted by the FBI and the NY District Attorney dating back to 2014, when Keyes pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud.
While there is no mention of any minimum or maximum sentence within the documents obtained, the current charges are categorized as Class E, Class C (three counts), and Class D felonies by The New York State Senate. According to the Senate, those classes of felonies carry maximum sentences of four years, fifteen years (each) and seven years, meaning conviction on all charges could carry up to 56 years in prison.
According to the NYDA, Keyes was arraigned in March and bail was set at $100,000. A source with knowledge of the matter said Keyes is out on bail and his next court appearance is set for Oct. 25.
Keyes’ lawyer, Nathan Semmel, told Pollstar: “A trial date is set because there are disputed issues, including Mr. Keyes’s knowledge of a criminal scheme. Efforts will, nevertheless, be made to resolve the case in a manner satisfactory to Mr. Keyes and the film makers. Out of respect for that process, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Red Entertainment Agency, based in New York, was founded in 2002 and the company website boasts of having produced the “Soul Divas Tour” featuring Whitney Houston in 2004 and the “Regeneration Tour” with The Human League, Belinda Carlisle and A Flock of Seagulls in 2008. Pollstar Directories records list JT Taylor (formerly of Kool And The Gang) and Cameo as non-exclusive clients of Red Entertainment Agency.
The Independent Film Partners website was not functional at press time, and Pollstar couldn’t find any web pages which link Keyes to IFP.
Keyes has a history of complaints about his business dealings from the likes of Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones, China Crisis and A Flock Of Seagulls. He previously blamed many of his financial problems on a messy divorce and an unnamed member of his staff “stealing large amounts of money” from the company.
Red Entertainment Agency was previously a sponsor of Pollstar Live!