In the American Greed episode “Sick Profits; Hollywood Swinging” the “Hollywood Swinging” part refers to Gigapix, a Los Angeles production company that said it was working on a 3-D animated version of The Wizard of Oz but wasn’t. The people behind Gigapix’s OZ3D project, which was “launched” in 2008, were charged with defrauding hundreds of investors of approximately $21 million. According to the FBI, Gigapix hired two telemarketers to solicit potential investors and claim the company was similar to Pixar Animation Studios.
In June 2014, four people were arrested — Gigapix CEO Christopher Blauvelt, 58; Gigapix President David Pritchard, 66; and the telemarketers Gregory Pusateri, 49; and Cheri Brown, 65. In 2015, Gigapix CEO Blauvelt received a sentence of 8 years in jail. Pritchard, a two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winner and former animation executive producer of The Simpsons (1998-2000) living in Malibu, received a sentence of 5 years in jail. (The interview below was filmed in 2013, prior to Pritchard’s arrest. “I’m one of those people who always ask questions. I have never looked for a job,” he boasts. “I never had one plan.”) Telemarketer Pusateri was sentenced to 3 months in jail and 5 years of probation; and Brown was ordered to perform 3000 hours of community service, no jail time. American Greed airs Thursdays at 10pm on CNBC.