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

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joseph Francis says his three top executives embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his production company, Mantra Films, then conspired to have him arrested for tax evasion to keep him from finding out.




     In his lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Francis says Michael Barrett, Roman Pelikh and Will L’Heureux set up a bogus company called WMR Marketing Inc. in 2002.
     By 2004, the three made “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of fraudulent expenses and reimbursements against Mantra Films, the lawsuit states.
     Barrett resigned in 2004 as the company’s chief financial officer. He then contacted the IRS and falsely accused Francis of tax evasion, “hoping that the IRS would prosecute and incarcerate Francis, thereby removing the possibility” that he would “catch the ongoing theft,” the lawsuit states.
     Francis was indicted in April 2007 on two counts of tax evasion in Reno, Nev., for illegally deducting $20 million in bogus business expenses.
     He is represented by David Schack of K&L Gates.

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