Authorities arrested a man Friday for allegedly bilking investors out of $5.5 million (Ђ4.54 million) by fraudulently claiming to be producing a government-backed television show about the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. attorney's office said Joseph M. Medawar, 43, solicited the money over the past 2 1/2 years from more than 70 investors, including some churches, and spent most of it on cars, housing, clothes and expensive meals for himself and associates.
Medawar allegedly told investors he was producing a drama series called "D.H.S." and had permission from the government to use the Department of Homeland Security's seal and name.
According to authorities, he said President George W. Bush personally endorsed the project. A complaint unsealed Friday charged Medawar with mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The latter charge involves the alleged creation of false documents that were given to FBI agents. A call to Medawar's company was not immediately returned Friday, AP reports.