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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joe Francis to Use "Deductions Gone Wild" Defense in Tax Evasion Trial

Francis Following up on my earlier posts (below):  The Smoking Gun reports that Joe Francis, founder of the Girls Gone Wild video series, is going to use a slide show to try to convince a jury in his upcoming tax evasion trial that various expenses are deductible as business expenses:

As part of Joseph Francis's opening statement in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, his defense team will show a series of slides (or "opening statement demonstratives") that link the "Girls Gone Wild" boss and his firm to movie stars like Jennifer Aniston, Jack Nicholson, Vince Vaughn, and Orlando Bloom. A copy of the slide presentation was filed last week in federal court by Francis's defense team.

Prosecutors allege that Francis, whose trial is set to open in mid-October, illegally sought to conceal income in offshore companies and deducted millions in phony business expenses, including costs incurred at Casa Aramara, Francis's beachfront Mexican home. One defense slide ... includes photos of Aniston,  ...  Bloom, and Vaughn, who are described as "celebrity guests" at the Punta Mita property. It appears that Francis, 36, will argue that the estate was an investment property frequently leased to wealthy tenants and, as such, certain business tax deductions were warranted.

[One] slide will helpfully inform jurors that Francis is "in Business of Sex," while another provides a "Marketing 101" overlook at the "Girls Gone Wild" soft-core franchise. The defense slide show will also attempt to draw parallels between Francis's business and Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire.

Girls Gone Wild 

Girls  

Playboy

As Joe Kristan notes, "I wouldn't give much for his chances for getting the deductions from the IRS, but he doesn't have to win the deductions at trial; he just has to convince a jury that he wasn't willfully evading taxes. It should be an interesting trial."

Prior TaxProf Blog posts:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/08/joe-francis.html

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Comments

Seems fair to me: The IRS gives Francis free exposure and Francis gets a stiff penalty.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Aug 27, 2009 4:43:26 PM