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