A Montana man faces criminal charges and is barred from soliciting investors in Montana over allegations that efforts to solicit investors for a film project purportedly featuring Clint Eastwood were a Ponzi scheme. Matthew McClintock, who also went by Michael Willis, currently faces fraud and theft charges stemming from allegations that he duped nearly $25,000 from investors who thought they were investing in a cowboy documentary that would be narrated by actor Clint Eastwood. Ironically, a portion of investor funds were allegedly used for a $575 cowboy hat that was worn at a recent court hearing. McClintock has since been barred from soliciting investments in Montana, and faces a possible 10-year sentence on each of six criminal charges he is currently facing.
According to the Montana Securities Commission, McClintock solicited individuals and businesses under the premise that he was producing a western documentary that would involve a prominent historian and feature narration by actor Clint Eastwood. McClintock told potential investors that the documentary would be aired on PBS and that a portion of the proceeds would go to the "Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund." Ultimately, McClintock raised nearly $25,000 in the form of "advertising fees" and "sponsorship fees" from at least 70 individual investors and nine businesses, at least some of whom were promised a portion of film royalties and would have their names included in the film credits.
However, authorities allege that McClintock's numerous promises were simply untrue. Clint Eastwood had no involvement with the project, no prominent historian had been retained, and the "Western Montana Breast Cancer Fund" did not exist. Nor had PBS signed on to air the documentary. Instead, McClintock is accused of using investor monies to pay make interest payments to existing investors as well as to fund a spending spree that included living expenses, fine dining, and personal expenses that included the purchase of a $575 cowboy hat. According to a Montana deputy securities commissioner, that same hat was worn by McClintock to a recent hearing.
This is not McClintock's first run-in with the law. He was previously convicted of fraud and obtaining money by false pretenses in Oklahoma, and later pleaded guilty to a fraudulent scam in 2010 for which he was still on probation.