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Former Fil-Am actor David Bunevacz sentenced to jail for 210 months in US

Former Fil-Am actor and decathlete David Bunevacz was sentenced on Monday (US time) by a California court to jail for 210 months or more than 17 years.

Bunevacz, 53, of Calabasas, California, was convicted of one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

US District Judge Dale S. Fischer ordered Bunevacz to pay $35,267,851 in restitution for scamming investors in business entities he put up such as CB Holding Group Corp. and Caesarbrutus LLC. 

Bunevacz claimed these companies were involved in the cannabis industry and engaged in the sale of vape pens which contained CBD oil and THC.

According to the court document, Bunevacz was able to raise $45,227,266 from more than 100 victim-investors. 

However, he misappropriated majority of the funds to finance his opulent lifestyle including a luxurious house in Calabasas, Las Vegas trips, jewelry, designer handbags, a lavish birthday party for his daughter, and horses.

A former UCLA decathlete who competed with the Philippine national team, Bunevacz “preyed on individuals who believed he was their friend,” Judge Fischer said.

The “seriousness of [his] conduct cannot be captured in mere dollars and cents," he added.

Judge Fischer said Bunevacz continued with his scheme even while serving probation for a state court conviction. “Not even a criminal conviction and the threat of jail convinced [Bunevacz] to become a law-abiding citizen," he said.

On July 18, Bunevacz agreed to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud.

He was arrested on April 5 and has been in federal custody since then.

Court documents showed Bunevacz told at least one investor that he had a Chinese manufacturer of disposable vape pens and had obtained “raw pesticide-free oil” that was sent to a “lab that infuses the flavors into the oil with our proprietary custom process that renders the vape flavoring smooth and discrete.”

He also provided investors with forged documents to show that the businesses were successful.

According to the court, Bunevacz registered various shell companies and listed other individuals including his stepdaughter as corporate officers.

He concealed negative information from his investors such as his felony conviction in 2017 for the unlawful sale of securities, according to an affidavit filed in support of a complaint in this case.

“The sense of violation, the assault on personal dignity, and the lasting trauma [Bunevacz] has caused are very much reminiscent of the harm typically associated with violent crimes,” prosecutors said.

“And, with well over a hundred victims, [Bunevacz] caused these harms at a scale rarely seen," they added.

The court did not grant Bunevacz' lawyer's request to shorten the jail sentence due to his client's health condition.

Bunevacz is set to serve his sentence at a California state prison. —with a report from Dave Llavanes Jr./KG, GMA Integrated News