Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Joe Francis, founder of the Girls Gone Wild video series, pleaded not guilty to two counts of federal tax evasion, saying he was a victim by the IRS's whistleblower program. From Web CPA: "Girls Gone Wild" Founder Fights Tax Charges:
Francis claimed over $20 million in phony business expenses on his corporate tax returns, according to the indictment, including $3.8 million for a house in Mexico and $10.4 million in consulting charges. He allegedly transferred $15 million from an offshore bank account to a California brokerage account named after a Cayman Islands business he controlled.
However, Francis's lawyer, Robert Bernhoft, told the Los Angeles Times that an accountant for Francis's businesses, Mantra Films and Sands Media, had prepared the returns without showing them to his client. The accountant then turned in Francis to get a share of the money from the IRS's whistleblower program. The program allows whistleblowers to collect between 15% and 30% of the money recovered from tax evaders.
"This ain't Girls Gone Wild," he said to the LA Times. "This is the IRS gone wild."