LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  Two men were arrested Thursday for allegedly getting people to invest in a bogus movie they claimed Britney Spears and Nick Nolte would star in, federal prosecutors said.

Bart Douglas Slanaker, 42, of Panorama City, and Joseph Roth, 57, of Santa Monica, were named in a federal criminal complaint that charges them with mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The complaint alleges that Slanaker and Roth pitched investments in an indie feature titled “There for Hope” — ostensibly starring Spears and Nolte — after potential investors were cold-called by salespeople based in a North Hills boiler room run by Slanaker.

Federal prosecutors contend that for the past seven months, the defendants misled potential investors regarding the use of their money, downplayed the risk of the investment, and falsely told investors that stars were affiliated with the project.

Slanaker and Roth allegedly raised about $300,000 since last August, prosecutors said.

Once victims’ checks were deposited into a bank account, the complaint alleges that Slanaker withdrew most of the money in cash.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint states that the FBI was already investigating Slanaker and Roth for other scams that solicited investments in movie projects.

The charge of mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.

 (©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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