In an amazing "life imitating art" turn of events, Michael Paloma, one of the lead actors in our new release Forget About It, starring Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch, Robert Loggia and Charles Durning, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for securities and mail fraud. Unknownst to us, Paloma, whose real name is Michael Saquella, was previously sanctioned by the SEC. He recently plead guilty to two felony counts, stemming from his multimillion dollar stock fraud schemes and on March 14, 2008, Paloma received a 10 year sentence and was ordered to pay $7.8 million dollars in restitution to our company, Big Screen Entertainment Group, as well as many other of his victims.
The irony of the situation is that Paloma's fictional character "Angelo Nitti" was a mobster who robbed a bank, stole the mafia's loot, and was being chased by FBI agents and federal Marshals. So essentially, Paloma's real life mirrored his acting part -- he was involved with the Bonanno crime family -- robbed nearly 24,000 victims of millions of dollars and, much like his character, was eventually caught by the feds.
As we soon learned the hard way, prior to being convicted, Paloma lived the high life at the expense of his victims. He bought private planes (even painting one purple, the color of his favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings), homes, businesses, expensive cars and real estate with the proceeds of his illegal stock manipulations. Paloma's greed was intrinsically intertwined with his vanity, as he financed and starred in vanity horror films, recorded a Blues album and paid for costly advertisements featuring himself in a massive billboard campaign in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard.
In addition to stealing in excess of $26,651,070 million between November 2003 and May 2006 in artificial trading profits as a result of the pumping and dumping the shares of the Issuer's stock, Paloma brazenly berated us and his other victims for trusting his misrepresentations. The government's filings state: "The defendant, Michael Saquella, defrauded over 24,000 investors and numerous companies of millions of dollars (over $20,000,000 in total for the conspiracy) largely so that he could finance his lavish lifestyle and his vanity film projects starring himself in a leading role. Caught on a "wire tap," the defendant's deceptive methods laid bare the pervasive nature of his greed and deceitful ways, as well as his utter contempt for the many victims he left in his wake."
Justice was served and Paloma was sentenced to serve his 10 year prison sentence in an Arizona correctional facility for individuals with medical problems. The reasons cited by Mr. Paloma's attorney's for his special treatment in sentencing were obesity, anxiety, heart problems, erectile dysfunction and hallucinations including "seeing dead people." These health concerns were initially used by Paloma in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid incarceration.
Pursuant to his plea deal, Paloma waived all rights to appeal his conviction or the sentence.
However, as the producers of Forget About It, we were just one of the many companies victimized by Paloma's schemes. But despite Paloma's antics, our film has been performing exceptionally well in rentals, is currently available in all major retail stores, and we will have several films premiering at the Cannes Film Market including the well reviewed thriller Babysitter Wanted. So who has the last laugh now?
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place