‘Girls Gone Wild’ Founder Says Top 3 Execs Embezzled Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis’ top three executives embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his production company and tried to have him locked up so he wouldn’t catch on, Francis claims in a new lawsuit.




     The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, says Mantra Films Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Barrett, Chief Technology Officer Roman Pelikh and Will L’Heureux, Vice President of Operations, embezzled the money through a series of bogus companies they created, including WMR Marketing, without Francis’ knowledge.
     The lawsuit also accuses Barrett of “falsely accusing Francis of criminal tax evasion, hoping that the IRS would prosecute and incarcerate Francis, thereby removing the possibility that (he) could catch the ongoing fraud,” the lawsuit states.
     In April 2007, Francis was indicted in Reno, Nev., on federal tax evasion charges for illegally claiming more than $20 million in bogus business expenses in 2002 and 2003.
     Francis is represented by David Schack of K&L Gates.

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