A South Bay man was charged Wednesday with allegedly using the Desilu name used by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s television production company to dupe investors into making investments with money that was actually used for personal expenses that included trips to Las Vegas.

Charles Hensley, 68, of Redondo Beach, is charged with 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the federal grand jury indictment. He will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in the coming weeks.

A representative for Hensley could not be immediately reached for comment.

According to the indictment returned Wednesday, from August 2017 to May 2018, Hensley successfully pitched investments in companies he owned, including Desilu Studios Inc. and Migranade Inc., which he operated out of offices in Manhattan Beach and other locations in Southern California.

Despite Hensley’s claims that Desilu Studios was valued at more than $11 billion and Migranade at more than $50 million, the companies were actually shell corporations with few assets or none at all, according to the indictment.

Hensley began using the name Desilu in 2016 and allegedly said he was making new content for his company, telling investors he was wealthy and backing his business with his personal funds, the indictment states.

In reality, he had few assets and was overdrawn on bank accounts, the indictment alleges.

It further alleges that Hensley falsely represented that Desilu Studios was about to go public and that the company’s stock was worth more than its face value and more than investors were paying and would increase in value following its imminent initial public offering. Prosecutors also say Hensley stole someone’s identity to list as Desilu Studio’s chief financial officer in offering materials.

The alleged scheme impacted many investors, including some who wired the $331,000 identified in the wire fraud counts. Hensley also allegedly targeted multiple companies in the entertainment industry.

Hensley could face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count if convicted, plus a mandatory two-year prison sentence for the aggravated identity theft count.

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