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Utahns charged in alleged scam for device `better than Netflix'

Published February 28, 2013 7:34 am

Allegations • Investors were told pair was developing 'better than Netflix' movie product.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two Utah men have been charged with fraud and theft for selling shares in companies supposedly developing a movie rental technology that was "better than Netflix" while the men instead used investor funds for personal expenses that included fast food meals.

David Bruce Buttars, 52, and Mark Whitney Keith La Count, 55, allegedly defrauded six victims, including several Park City neighbors, out of $69,500.

They face felony charges in 3rd District Court of fraud, theft and engaging in a pattern of illegal activity. They allegedly sold shares in Ellipse Technology Inc and Movieblitz North America but were not licensed to sell securities and investors never saw any returns, court documents say.

The two told potential investors they were working with a "genius" who had helped to create the stealth bomber and who was using some of that technology to develop a device that would "put media stores out of business," according to charging documents.

They claimed the red plastic device, called a media key, was akin to a thumb drive and would allow consumers to rent movies at a store or kiosk and then play them on a television. Victims were told the device would let them download 20 to 30 movies, without no need to return them or pay late fees, documents say.

However, financial records show that instead of putting investor monies toward product development, Buttars spent them largely on personal expenses such as McDonald's meals, groceries, gas and child support, the charging document says.

Victims included several people in the Jeremy Ranch development near Park City where the two men lived at one time. Buttars now lives in Bountiful, court records say.

Attorneys for Buttars and La Count did not immediately return emails seeking a response to the charges.

The two are free pending trial.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib