Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Victim's Statement Submitted to Court

I have revised my Victim's Statement for submission to the judge/counsel in the SEC civil case. I am posting it at this time in order to give anyone interested an opportunity to understand my plight of the past 15 years in attempting to seek justice. 


            This statement is in support of my request to be included along with other victims receiving restitution as a result of Rand Chortkoff’s criminal activities.

Although my victimization occurred in approximately 2000/2001, it was no less egregious and far-reaching in its scope and effect than what the victims have suffered in the cases at hand involving Rand Chortkoff. In fact, my loss and suffering may very well exceed theirs. The effects on my life have been devastating and surreal and continue to this day.

            I was contacted by CBS This Morning Show regarding movie scams in 2013. They had found my blog on the Internet which relayed my story of victimhood. At their request I appeared on a news segment featuring this subject in February of 2014. Subsequent to their investigation into certain individuals, Rand Chortkoff was indicted for fraud relative to a movie production company he and Samuel Braslau owned. 

            By way of background, I had recently been laid off my job of 26 years as a legal assistant and found it necessary to then put off obtaining another job in order that I might care for my mother suffering from terminal cancer. Shortly thereafter my fiancĂ© passed away as well as my soon-to-be business partner, both from very fast moving forms of cancer. The loss of these three individuals with whom I was very close was extremely painful and traumatic compounded by the grief and hopeless experienced from the loss of my job. I was in a very, very vulnerable state and was very much alone as I contemplated a very bleak future. Unfortunately, my dire situation made me easy prey for predators such as Chortkoff.

            Chortkoff and his minions blatantly and deliberately preyed on my hopes and dreams while I was in a very vulnerable state. When I was contacted by Chortkoff and his crew, a bright picture was painted of receiving a high yield in a short amount of time if I invested in the movie, Blue Hill Avenue. In fact, they estimated a fast turnaround profit of $1.5 million on the total $315,000 invested. They especially encouraged me to invest in light of my situation which was relayed to them, even going so far as to suggest and encourage investing my mother’s inheritance upon her impending death. Naturally, in the desperate emotional and financial state I was in, the assurances given regarding the return on investment appealed to me. Background research online at the time did not reveal any negative reviews or consumer warnings about the venture capital salespeople (Chortkoff) or Erwin and Kirishima. Erwin and Kirishima had recently become criminalized via Chortkoff by the lure of easy capital with no real intent to create successful films – just raise and pocket the money and make up excuses to investors as to the demise of their movies.

As stated, Rand Chortkoff acted as the lead venture capital salesman soliciting money for the movie, Blue Hill Avenue, produced by Michael Erwin and J. Max Kirishima. Rand Chortkoff, along with his corrupt crew, used strong-arm tactics including threats, coercion and
intimidation to raise money through cold calls while taking excessive commissions (40% of 5 million raised), often not crediting investor money towards movie “units,” assumedly pocketing the money. I recall a phone call one evening in particular wherein Rand Chortkoff used coercion to try to force me to send investment money immediately (Fed Ex) even though I explained to him that there had been a delay in processing funds beyond my control. Chortkoff and his minions would continually “go back to the well” to extract more and more money from investors, inventing urgent scenarios. The last call I received was from Steven Canino, one of Chortkoff’s minions. He stated that he had stepped outside during a meeting for purchase of the movie by a film company to call me. He indicated that they were told that if they didn’t raise an additional $15,000 immediately, the current “deal” for sale of the movie would be taken off the table. To lure me he used the special incentive of giving me “points” in another upcoming movie that Erwin and Kirishima were going to produce, that was never actually made. I scraped together the $15,000 (the very last of my money) and sent it (always via Fed Ex) but never received any receipt or paperwork indicating proof of purchase, where the money went or how it was used. The $15,000 was never accounted for and assumedly ended up in the pockets of Chortkoff and his minions. An independent sales broker in the office, Rex Dale of Los Angeles, contacted me after Canino’s call to me and relayed how Chortkoff’s group laughed after the call stating, “You should have gotten more!” Of course, there was no actual meeting to purchase the film and the scenario was a made-up farce to obtain additional money from me. Rex Dale also relayed to me how they had hit on an elderly man for a large sum of money and then just pocketed it without any credit given towards the purchase of anything! These are the types of scandalous tactics used by Chortkoff and his criminal bunch of thugs.  

The amount of money they raised (5 million) for Blue Hill Avenue far exceeded the amount necessary to make the movie, Blue Hill Avenue (1.5 million). Michael Erwin and J. Max Kirishima should have been indicted and charged as well as Chortkoff for their corruption and fraud in deliberately fleecing investors for their own criminal gain. Blue Hill Avenue was only one of several supposed movies to be produced that Chortkoff and his crew were raising money for and were also hitting on me for investment in those projects as well.

            My investment in Blue Hill Avenue totaled approximately $315,000. It was made up of savings, a roll-over of a 401K into a self-directed IRA set up by Erwin, inheritance, maxed out credit cards and lines of credit. Chortkoff and his minions assured me that I would realize a profit of at least 1.5 million on Blue Hill Avenue. They encouraged me to invest any and all money I could get my hands on for quick turnover and massive profits. 

Erwin and Kirishima pocketed vast sums of money from overages after making Blue Hill Avenue and Chortkoff and his minions made off with a substantial amount in the form of exorbitant commissions. I never received any return on my investment whatsoever.   

Due to the reality of receiving no profit whatsoever nor return of my original investment monies, I have been harassed and intimidated by collection agencies due to the inability to pay off lines of credit, had garnishment notices served upon me at my employment that forced me to quit, had my formerly A-1 credit ruined, was forced to represent myself in court to no avail, and suffered district court judgments (now expired, thankfully). I have been living an embarrassing and shameful underground existence all of these years. I have had to live a very “bare bones” existence barely scraping by. I have been forced to sell off personal possessions to obtain money to live on and have been dependent upon charity from friends and family in the form of food and clothing donations.
This nightmarish experience has been mentally, emotionally and financially devastating beyond imagination. Prior to this experience I had a stellar credit rating and was completely debt free.   

            It is important to emphasize that I have spent all of these years pursuing every avenue possible to recover my money to no avail. I even began a lawsuit in Los Angeles which I was forced to abandon because I lacked funds to continue. Here is a list of all of the entities I have contacted regarding my situation in an attempt to obtain assistance:

FBI Complaints Unit, Los Angeles – (Case Set Up)
Office of Victim Assistance, FBI, Portland, OR (Erwin fled California
  and now resides in Jacksonville, OR)
State of California, Department of Justice, Sacramento, CA
Senator Mark Dayton’s Office, US Senate, St. Paul, MN
US Securities and Exchange Commission, 5670 Wilshire Blvd,
   Los Angeles, CA
SEC Division of Enforcement, 450 Fifth St NW, Washington, DC
United States Securities & Exchange Commission, Chicago, IL
Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, St. Paul, MN
Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC
State of Minnesota, Commissioner of Commerce (issued Cease &
  Desist Order)
State of Oregon, Department of Consumer and Business Services,        
  Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, Salem, OR
US Postal Inspection Service, Criminal Investigations Service Center,
  St. Paul, MN
Minnesota, California and Oregon Better Business Bureaus
Oregon Department of Justice, Civil Enforcement Division,
  Salem, OR
Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA
Numerous law offices in CA, OR and MN  

The governmental agencies and departments basically indicated that they were unable to assist me due to the limits of their authority (got tired of hearing “not within our jurisdiction”) and suggested retaining an attorney, which I did, but, as stated, I ran out of funds since my money was all invested in Blue Hill Avenue.

            I have posted my story on various complaint sites on the Internet and have maintained a blog ( with updates including various links relating to the indictment of Chortkoff as well as a link to my appearance on the CBS This Morning Show on February 18, 2014 relaying my story of fraud and victimization.  

            As you can see, my experience is real and my loss devastating and ongoing due to the criminal acts of Rand Chortkoff, as well as Mike Erwin and J. Max Kirishima who should have been indicted for their fraudulent acts against so many investors (approximately 100 in Blue Hill Avenue alone) in their movie production scam. I did everything possible to pursue justice for myself and the other fleeced investors, many of whom contacted me directly after finding my posts on the Internet, to no avail. Justice was NOT served as it should have been.

            It is my earnest plea that my substantial loss due in large part to the criminal acts of Rand Chortkoff, defendant in the SEC civil case, be considered in any restitution to be distributed among his victims in the existing SEC civil case.                                                           

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                        Bette Anderson


Friday, November 13, 2015

Future of Blog

I am not abandoning my post and will continue to report any further

news relative to Braslau and Rawitt. Braslau has filed an appeal of

his conviction and I will pass on any new information I receive from

the court throughout the appeals process and will report on the

final disposition, etc.  

I understand there is also an active civil court case against Braslau, etc.

Since I am not a party to it, I have no information as to its status. If there

is someone who would care to share information regarding the case, I would

be happy to post it for anyone who might be interested. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The End of My Journey

And so, the saga ends, not as I had wished it to but as the forces have determined.

My journey for justice and restitution has been painful, arduous and unrelenting. Despite my very best efforts over the past 15 years, the combined forces of lying, thieving scamsters fabricating lies and mistruths; inept, incompetent government agencies acting in accordance with ineffective, impotent policies and guidelines; limitations of time; and ultimate lack of financial resources to adequately pursue have forced me to raise the white flag of surrender. I am out of options with nowhere else to turn. The statute of limitations has run for any legal recourse in my situation with no retroactive possibility, as I was just informed by the court in the current case I have been chronicling. Despite my public appearance on CBS TV with the sincere hope that it might further my own cause as well as warning others of film scams, my efforts have failed in obtaining my ultimate goal of restitution and financial restoration. Although it is satisfying to see that the system ultimately worked in FINALLY bringing Chortkoff (now deceased), Braslau, etc., to justice, their past sins and misdeeds over a decade and a half will never be accounted for nor punished. They and Michael Erwin and Max Kirishima should have been prosecuted and jailed long ago. My pursuit of them has been basically a single-handed, uphill battle utilizing EVERY resource possible. It is an unforgivable travesty.

The final blow in all of this is that is is now costing me my home. The victims forever suffer while the evildoers prosper. Chortkoff's children now stand to inherit the hard-earned money of so many scammed investors after his death. By rights, they should be charged with receiving stolen goods. The court has chosen NOT to pursue Chortkoff's assets as part of victim restitution. And, Braslau and Rawitt are ordered to pay back investors at a rate of $25 per quarter - yes, you read that right - funny if it weren't so pathetic.

No wonder there are so many engaged in criminal acts against the public - where's the tough message, the accountability, the threat of punishment?

This is the lowest point in my life. It's a helpless feeling of betrayal and disappointment. I fight against anger and bitterness because in the end it only hurts me.

To quote an English folk song entitled Sir Andrew Barton or Andrew Bartin (Child ballad number 167):

'I am hurt but I am not slain.
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
Then I'll rise and fight again.'

I must lay down my arms and surrender to this battle, but I will never give up my fight to seek justice for all against the myriad of crooks and criminals preying upon the innocent. Peace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Court Notification Regarding Rand Chortkoff

Criminal charges in the case which involves defendant(s): RAND JAY CHORTKOFF were dismissed on August 8, 2015. Since the charges have been dismissed, there are no longer any bail restrictions on the defendant's release. If you have any questions regarding this event, please feel free to call our office at the number listed above. Defendant Rand Chortkoff passed away on May 5, 2015. For additional information, please see the Court's order of dismissal, which is available for download* on the Victim Notification System (VNS) website: 
(*available after 24 hours of your receipt of this notification) 

Order (will need to cut and paste into browser):

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Received below notification from the court relative to Samuel Braslau:

A post-trial hearing has been scheduled before Judge R. Klausner for August 31, 2015, 01:30 PM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 for defendant(s) SAMUEL BRASLAU. The purpose of the hearing is to clarify any legal issues raised after the trial. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


SAMUEL BRASLAU is currently incarcerated at FCI Lompoc and is scheduled for release on August 18, 2021. The inmate is not eligible for parole. 

An appeal has been filed in the case which involves defendant(s) SAMUEL BRASLAU. The process may take some time before a final decision is reached. An appeal is a legal proceeding by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of the decision made by the lower court. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I just received an email from my anonymous
source that is rather shocking regarding
Rand Chortkoff. Apparently, it is true that
he passed away from liver disease today.
Here is the email I received:

Hello again on May 5
its being reported that Chortkoff passed away this
morning. Liver disease--- needed a transplant,
did not happen. I have crossed check, appears
to be accurate. in the blues scene in LA, he
is being lauded for so many great contributions
to the art,  blah blah--- sad---people are
clueless where all that money came from.
If I hear anything else, will advise but appears this
chapter is closed

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sentencing - Samuel Braslau

This is an e-mail from an anonymous source with
status updates on defendants. There was a
sentencing document with regard to Samuel Braslau
attached which I will provide to anyone who requests it.

perhaps you noticed, attorney sam braslau was sentenced this week
to 85 months in the criminal case, the govt wanted 120 months but
lack of prior record helped to reduce the term. chortkoff sentencing is
delayed until sept due to "health reasons" -- I heard 3rd hand he was
recently in hospital. see attached, he is also on hook for payback of the
$1.6MM - with his prior rap sheet, chortkoff will prob get close to 10 years (?)

civil case will prob now proceed now that braslau was sentenced in the criminal case.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Current Status of Samuel Braslau

As of April 27, 2015, SAMUEL BRASLAU is in custody. 

Defendant SAMUEL BRASLAU was sentenced by the Court. The Court ordered the defendant to the following: 

     Incarceration of 7 year(s) 3 month(s) 
     Followed by Supervised Release of 2 year(s) 
     Special Assessment of $1,700.00. 

Please be aware it often takes one to two months after sentencing before a federal prison is designated. You may also visit the Bureau of Prisons website at to obtain information about the defendant's custody status. Please also be aware that certain inmates may be offered special programs once they are in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. This may result in serving less time than the 85% of their sentence normally served in federal prison. At the end of the defendant SAMUEL BRASLAU’s incarceration period, he shall be placed on Supervised Release for a period of 2 years. Supervised Release means that after defendant is released from federal prison, he must regularly report to the U.S. Probation Office and will be subject to various terms and conditions imposed by the Court, which are listed on a Judgment and Commitment Order 

Notice of Appeal Filed: 
An appeal has been filed in the case involving defendant(s) SAMUEL BRASLAU. The process may take some time before a final decision is reached. An appeal is a legal proceeding by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of the decision made by the lower court. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Current Status of Stuart Rawitt

STUART RAWITT is currently incarcerated at 

BOP - Taft CI and is scheduled for release

on August 10, 2019 and is not eligible for


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rand Chortkoff's Sentencing Hearing Rescheduled

This is really UNBELIEVABLE! Justice delayed is justice denied!!!  No explanation given by court for rescheduling.  

The sentencing previously scheduled for defendant(s) RAND JAY CHORTKOFF on May 4, 2015, 10:00 AM has been rescheduled by the court. The sentencing hearing for defendant(s), RAND JAY CHORTKOFF, has been set for September 21, 2015, 10:00 AM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 before Judge R. Klausner. Judge Klausner's courtroom is located on the 8th floor of the Edward Roybal Federal Building, 255 E. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Samuel Braslau's Sentencing Hearing Rescheduled

The sentencing previously scheduled for defendant(s) SAMUEL BRASLAU on April 6, 2015, 01:30 AM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 has been rescheduled by the court to April 27, 2015, 01:30 PM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 before Judge R. Klausner.  Judge Klausner's courtroom is located on the 8th floor of the Edward Roybal Federal Building, 255 E. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA90012. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Article From LA Weekly on Movie Scam Sentencing


Website for The Smuggler
Website for The Smuggler
Stuart Rawitt, a veteran telemarketer known for his ability to close investment deals, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for his role in a movie scam.
Rawitt, 47, of Marina del Rey, pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in The SmugglerThe film was supposed to depict a martial-arts master who cares for an orphan and fights Nazis in occupied Paris. According to a complaint, Rawitt told prospective investors that it would star Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tim Roth, Sean Bean and Donald Sutherland.
Rawitt and his co-defendants, Rand Chortkoff and Samuel Braslau, raised about $1.8 million from 60 investors. The film was never made, no script was completed, and none of the actors were ever approached to participate. 
In a declaration accompanying his plea agreement, Rawitt admitted making most of the false statements attributed to him.
"However, I did not 'know' that any of these statements were, in fact, false, because ... I chose not to know," Rawitt stated. "They sounded like good selling points to me and since I was hired solely to raise funds... I used them as selling points without questioning whether there was any basis in fact for them."
In pleading guilty, Rawitt admitted he knew that the statements were probably false.
Rawitt was paid a 27 percent commission on money he raised, earning about $227,000. Braslau was accused of pocketing $270,000 in legal fees and other expenses. After commissions and other fundraising expenses were paid, the company was left with a mere $2,241.
Shortly after pleading guilty, Rawitt tested positive for cocaine. His attorney, Bernard Rosen, argued for a lighter sentence based on his history of drug abuse. According to letters written by Rawitt's friends, he was active in Alcoholics Anonymous and had relapsed after a period of sobriety due to a bad break-up.
Chortkoff also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Braslau was convicted by a jury and is due to be sentenced in March. 
With reporting by City News Service.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

UPDATE: Defendant Robert Matias

UPDATE:  Defendant Robert Matias

I inquired of the court today as to the fate of Robert Matias

concerning his involvement in this case. I was told that he

was found 'not guilty' by a jury in a trial which commenced

on 11/4/14, the same jury that found Samuel Braslau guilty.

There was a Judgment Discharge issued in favor of  Robert

Matias on 11/14/14.

I do note that Robert Matias, 50, of Los Angeles

was initially designated a fugitive according to prosecutors.

The court was unable to provide any further information as to

his status or why the jury believed him to be not guilty.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sentencing and Hearing Information: Samuel Braslau and Stuart Eric Rawitt

Defendant STUART ERIC RAWITT was sentenced by the Court. The Court ordered the defendant to the following: 

     Incarceration of 5 year(s) 3 month(s) 
     Followed by Supervised Release of 3 year(s) 
     Special Assessment of $100.00. 

The Court has scheduled a hearing in order to determine the amount of restitution that defendant STUART RAWITT will pay for: April 20, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 850 of the United States District Court, Edward R. Roybal Courthouse located at 255 East Temple Street, Los Angeles, California 90012, before the Honorable Judge R. Gary Klausner. If you would like to attend, please call our office at least 24 hours prior to the hearing to determine whether it will proceed as scheduled. 

A post-trial hearing has been scheduled before Judge R. Klausner for March 9, 2015, 10:00 AM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 for defendant(s) SAMUEL BRASLAU. The purpose of the hearing is to clarify any legal issues raised after the trial. 

The sentencing hearing for defendant(s), SAMUEL BRASLAU, has been set for April 6, 2015, 01:30 AM at Hearing Location for Western Division Office 2, US Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 before Judge R. Klausner. 

CORRECTION: Judge Klausner's courtroom is located on the 8th floor of the Edward Roybal Federal Building, 255 E. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rand Chortkoff's Accomplice, Robert Matias, Sentenced for Investor Fraud

WeHo Man Sentenced in Film Fundraising Fraud

Mon, Jan 26, 2015   By City News Service   
West Hollywood resident Stuart Rawitt, center left, and Rand Chotkoff, center right
West Hollywood resident Stuart Rawitt, center left, and Rand Chotkoff, center right
A West Hollywood man was sentenced today to 63 months in federal prison for helping bilk investors out of nearly $2 million by offering shares in movies that were never made.
Stuart Rawitt, 47, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. The judge set an April 20 restitution hearing, and ordered Rawitt immediately taken into custody.
Rawitt, who was charged in the case along with two others last year, pleaded guilty in October to a federal mail fraud charge.
The defendants raised money for a film called “The Smuggler” through a boiler room telemarketing operation in Van Nuys after first representing themselves as researchers.
Victims were falsely told that 64 percent of investor money would be used to produce the film, and that investors would be first in line to receive any revenue.
Prosecutors said Rawitt and his co-defendants — who are awaiting sentencing — falsely claimed to have contracted such actors as John Cusack, Gerard Butler, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Sutherland and Jon Voight to appear in “The Smuggler.”
The co-defendents are:
  • Samuel Braslau, 53, of Mar Vista, an attorney and co-founder of the companies;
  • Rand Jay Chortkoff, 64, of Encino, a co-founder of the companies,
  • And Robert Matias, 50, of Granada Hills, a salesperson.