Time and the law have finally caught up with shady Hollywood investor Victor “Victorino” Noval. The US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles has just filed a suit against him for $104,380,000. And that’s probably the tip of the iceberg.
The suit — seven suits, actually, enough for every day of the week — are alleging Noval laundered money from the Kuwaiti government so he could live an over the top the lavish lifestyle in Beverly Hills. The money, they say, bought him three really expensive (like $20 mil) homes in Beverly Hills, a penthouse and an apartment in the UCLA neighborhood of Westwood, a private jet, a yacht, a Lamborghini sports car and approximately $40,000 worth of memorabilia of boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Noval has also been involved in an ongoing notorious tug of war over a massive parcel of land in Beverly Hills known as “The Mountain.” The complaints say the pilfered funds were used to purchase or contribute to the improvement “The Mountain,” which was originally owned by late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes and may now be back in his estate.
This isn’t Noval’s first interaction with the government. He was convicted in 2003 of mail fraud and tax evasion in connection with a multimillion-dollar loan fraud committed against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Noval was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $25 million in restitution.
I can tell you that since the suits were filed yesterday, Noval has removed himself from social media, deleting his Instagram account– which had lots of photos of him jaunting with stars like John Travolta and late wife Kelly Preston– and nearly all mention of what I think now was a phony Foundation.
Indeed, the Victorino Noval Foundation website is gone. But on further inspection, I can find no record with the government for such a foundation, nothing listed ever on GuideStar or Charity Navigator. The foundation existed, as far as I can tell, only in Noval’s fictional world. There is absolutely no official record of it or its business. If Noval raised money in its name– and the remnants of his website indicate as such– the Foundation was not registered with the government. Noval said on the now deleted website that the Foundation had assets of over $1 billion. Everyone believed it. No one– including real estate site The Real Deal–bothered to check it out.
But wait– there’s more. I’ve met Noval. He’s flitted around the fringes of Hollywood for years as a disreputable last resort investor in independent films. I stumbled on him a few years ago having a meeting in New York’s Soho House with James Franco and his producing partner, Vince Jolivette. The result was Victorino–the name he goes by and likes everyone to call him– bankrolling three of Franco’s bad films. One was a student film called “Black Dog Red Dog.” He financed another one no one has even seen called “The Color of Time” with Franco, Mila Kunis, Henry Hopper, Zack Braff, and Jolivette himself. There’s also a documentary.
We always wondered who was paying for Franco’s vanity films. Now we have some idea.
As recently as 2017, Noval provided funding for another B movie called “Andover” starring Jonathan Silverman, written and directed by a Scott Perlman; and several documentaries or doc shorts including one about shooting a Michael Jackson Vogue cover.
In 2018, Noval was publicly cozy with Travolta and Preston, who appeared at and took pictures him at his Italianate Beverly Hills mansion in Hollywood for junk producer Oscar Generale, their mutual friend and producer of Travolta’s most recent crap movie, “The Fanatic.”
According to the complaints, between 2009 and 2016, individuals who were high-level Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense officials at the time and their associates used the MOD’s London attaché office to open at least six unauthorized bank accounts and then transferred more than $100 million of Kuwaiti public funds from the National Bank of Kuwait into the unauthorized London accounts. In order to disguise the nature of these transfers, some of them were falsely described as being intended for military purposes. According to the complaints, these funds were actually transferred to several California entities that had no business or contractual relationship with the MOD.
Was the money being laundered through these Franco and Silverman movies, among others? Stay tuned. The Victorino story is far from over.