Case dismissed for Valencia woman named in alleged Ponzi scheme


A Valencia woman charged in a 72-count complaint for allegedly bilking more than $21 million from people investing in the 2009 movie “Not Forgotten” has had the criminal case against her dismissed, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

On Thursday, DA spokesman Greg Risling revealed the case against Michelle Seward had been dismissed.

She was the second of two people charged in what prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme to make money.

Seward, 44 and film director Dror Soref, 66, were each initially charged with 56 counts of securities fraud, 15 counts of sale of unregistered securities and one count of device, scheme or artifice to defraud a securities transaction, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The case against Soref was dismissed in March after a judge ruled the director would not be held to answer to the charges filed against him.

For five months, Soref appeared off and on in Los Angeles Superior Court for a preliminary hearing held to determine if there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

In the end, the case against him was dismissed.

On Thursday, it was revealed that the case against Seward had also been dismissed.

“The case against Seward also has concluded,” DA spokesman Greg Risling said Thursday.

“In May, she agreed to return $1.13 million to more than 40 victims, many of whom are elderly,” Risling said. “The money has since been paid.

Seward was accused of giving presentations where people were encouraged to invest their savings for the 2009 movie “Not Forgotten” Risling said.

“She earned commissions from those alleged fraudulent transactions,” he said. “Victims were promised double-digit returns on their investments that carried no risk.

“A judge dismissed all 72 counts against her after she agreed to return the commissions,” Risling said.

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