Man Indicted In Hollywood Fraud Case For Using Desilu Name

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged a Redondo Beach man with fraud and identity theft, alleging he used the name of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s legendary Desilu production company to defraud investors.

Charles Hensley, 68, has been charged with 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for his alleged activities, which involved using Desilu’s name to deceive investors into providing funds to shell companies. The indictment stems from an FBI and IRS investigation of Hensley’s business. Prosecutors said Hensley collected $331,000 from multiple investors for his personal expenses, including trips to Las Vegas.

Hensley could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

Hensley founded Desilu Studios Inc. in 2016 and operates from offices in Manhattan Beach and elsewhere in Southern California. The name is very similar to Desilu Productions Inc., the long-defunct TV production company owned by the late Arnaz and Ball that produced I Love Lucy, Hard Face, Mission: Impossible, and “Mission Impossible” and other TV series famous. Star Trek. But Hensley has no legal connection with the famous couple.

From August 2017 to May 2018, Hensley invested in Desilu Studios and his other company, Migranade Inc., with investors, the indictment alleges. He would allegedly lie about his personal finances, claiming the companies were backed by his own money, provide investors with false valuation letters showing the companies were valued in the billions, and falsely claim that Desilu was about to go public. In addition, the indictment alleges that he stole the identity of another person while providing material to be listed as the fake studio’s CFO.

Hensley also allegedly lied that his company had acquired valuable intellectual property and was actively developing new film and television projects in order to deceive investors into giving him money. Hensley allegedly used the same false statements against several entertainment companies to persuade them to sell the companies in exchange for shares in Desilu Studio.

Before being investigated, Hensley filed a copyright lawsuit against CBS, which now controls Desilu Productions’ legacy programming and owns the trademark rights to the Desilu moniker. Every Reuters, Hensley claimed in a 2018 lawsuit against CBS that he was blessed by Ball and Arnaz’s daughter Lucie Arnaz to use the name Desilu. He also said CBS did not object when Hensley first filed for the trademark

If convicted, Hensley faces a mandatory two-year prison term for aggravated identity theft and up to 20 years in federal prison for each of 11 counts of wire fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry L. Quinn of the Major Fraud Section will lead the prosecution. Prosecutors said Hensley will be arraigned “in the coming weeks.”

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