Thursday, April 12, 2007

Girls Gone Wild Producer Charged with Tax Evasion

Joe Francis, the producer of the ever-popular "Girls Gone Wild" videos and those incessant infomercials that plague the late-night airways, was charged in a two-count indictment with tax evasion for his 2001 and 2002 tax returns.  According to the indictment (here) returned in the District of  Nevada, Francis had the company that produces the films, an S corporation, deduct allegedly false business expenses, including building a house in Mexico and allegedly bogus insurance payments to a company headquartered in the South Pacific island of Vanuatu.  As the sole shareholder of the company, all income was passed through to Francis, so any increase in deductible business expenses decreased his income.  The indictment also charges that Francis set up a brokerage account in California with nominee owners and moved funds from a Cayman Islands company through the account without declaring it as income.  The indictment of Francis is another in a string of high-profile media personalities pursued for tax evasion, including Richard Hatch, the first Survivor winner currently serving a prison sentence, and movie star Wesley Snipes.  An AP story (here) notes that singer Marc Anthony, perhaps best known as the husband of Jennifer Lopez for those who follow such things, agreed to pay $2.5 million in back taxes but will not be prosecuted because he thought his accountant had filed the returns.  While tempting, I will pass on any allusions to the video series Francis produced, tempting as that might be.  (ph)

Prosecutions, Tax | Permalink

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