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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Hollywood Divorce Turns Exceedingly Nasty

(CN) - The wife in a "hotly contested divorce" claims her ex-husband's lawyer helped him siphon "untold millions" from the couple's entertainment payroll processing firm, Axium, bankrupting the company and cheating the wife and the company's 800 employees.

Maha Visconti demands $100 million from attorney Jeff Sturman and the Kolodny & Anteau law office. She claims the attorneys helped her ex, former Axium CEO John Visconti loot the company.

In language befitting a Hollywood squabble, the complaint states: "This is a case related to a hotly contested divorce. This case involves massive fraud, theft, conspiracy, self-dealings, unjust enrichments, the looting of assets of the now-bankrupt Axium International Inc., one of the major entertainment industry's that was leading payroll services firms [sic] and all of the entities and subsidiaries of Axium Holdings Inc."

Plaintiff Maha Visconti claims that her husband's attorneys in the divorce proceedings "played every trick in the book and created a big mess and disarray ... [and] consistently told lies under penalty of perjury to the court."

She claims that attorney Sturman told the divorce court that her husband had "no ability" to pay child support and couldn't even afford his attorney fees, though Sturman was secretly taking "millions" from the couple's jointly owned company, Axium.

She claims her ex hid Axium's 2007 financial statement, to cover up having bled the company dry. The records would have cleared up several mystery transactions, Maha Visconti says. In August 2006, $100 million disappeared from Axium's books, and in April 2007 another $80 million flew away, according to the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Maha Visconti claims her ex transferred "millions" to Sturman and his law firm to pay for them "to lie and fabricate stories."

Sturman and Visconti also transferred "millions" to Visconti's company, Unity America Fund, and to other "secret entities" created to absorb Axium's wealth, Maha Visconti says.

Maha Visconti says she and her husband bought Axium for $4 million in 2001, and that it generated $100 million every year for the next 5 years.

After filing for divorce, John Visconti borrowed $194 million in Axium's name, without telling his wife or the divorce court, the lawsuit states.

Maha Visconti claims that in June 2009 Axium's Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee, Howard Ehrenberg, sued Axium's longtime outside attorney, Louis Dienes, claiming Dienes had helped John Visconti and Ronald Garbex, former Axium vice chairman and chief operating officer, loot the company.

Maha Visconti demands $100 million from the defendant attorneys, alleging fraud, conspiracy and unfair business practices.

She is represented by Hieu Do of Westminster, Calif.

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