Georgia Prisoner Allegedly Swindled $11 Million From Billionaire Movie Mogul While in Jail

Georgia Prisoner Allegedly Swindled $11 Million From Billionaire Movie Mogul While in Jail

A 31-year-old man currently incarcerated in Georgia allegedly swindled $11 million, possibly more, from the comforts of his prison cell in a maximum-security facility.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arthur Lee Cofield Jr. has been accused of impersonating billionaire Sidney Kimmel and fraudulently obtaining $11 million from his bank account. Cofield reportedly gained access to Kimmel’s Charles Schwab account to use the illegally elicited funds to purchase gold coins and a mansion in Buckhead.

Kimmel, reportedly worth $1.5 million, is the CEO and chairman of his self-titled entertainment company, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, based in Los Angeles. According to his website, the company has financially backed over 40 feature films, including 9 1/2 Weeks, The Lincoln Lawyer, Crazy Rich Asians, and Talk to Me.

It is also believed that Cofield stole millions from other billionaires as well.

In what is being described as “potentially one of the biggest heists ever pulled off from inside an American prison,” Cofield was able to pull off his crimes while being imprisoned at the Georgia Department of Corrections’ Special Management Unit. The jail is a maximum security facility built to accommodate the state’s most hardened criminals.

Federal agents and prosecutors have been analyzing the evidence to determine how Cofield could pull off impersonating the billionaire to access his Charles Schwab account.

The prisoner, charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering, has pleaded not guilty. Two others charged were allegedly involved in the scheme: Eldridge Bennett and his 27-year-old daughter, Eliayah Bennett.

It is believed that by using contraband cell phones, Cofield convinced representatives at Charles Schwab that he was Kimmel. He arranged for the financial institution to wire $11 million to an Idaho company. That company then bought 6,106 American Eagle one-ounce gold coins.

He then allegedly arranged to use a private airplane to take the gold coins to Atlanta, where some of the money was then used to purchase a $4.4 million house in Buckhead.

“Cofield was a shrewd, intelligent individual who could con you out of millions,” said Jose Morales, who was the warden at the Special Management Unit while Cofield was there.

An advisor to Kimmel, Matthew Kamens, stated in an email that Kimmel wasn’t the victim because he defrauded the bank. He said the victim was the Charles Schwab Corp.

“Mr. Kimmel was unaffected by whatever occurred, and we have no knowledge of what occurred, either in terms of background or context,” Kamens wrote in the email.

Schwab stated that the bank reimbursed Kimmel for the total amount based on their policy for cases of unauthorized activity.

“As soon as Schwab was aware of suspected fraudulent activity, we launched an investigation, initiated measures to protect the client’s account and notified the authorities.”