Thursday, April 12, 2007

IRS: Joe Francis caught in $20 million corporate evasion scheme

Joe Francis, the "Girls Gone Wild" founder, was indicted today on federal tax evasion charges for illegally deducting more than $20 million in phony business expenses from his 2002 and 2003 corporate tax returns.

According to a two count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, Francis, 34, sought to conceal income through the use of offshore companies and nominees. At one point, he transferred $15 million from one offshore bank account to a California brokerage account in the name of a Cayman Islands corporation he controlled. Below you'll find a copy of the indictment filed against Francis, who is pictured in the mug shot at right. If convicted of the federal charges, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. Francis was arrested Tuesday on an unrelated federal warrant stemming from a civil lawsuit brought against him by seven underage women who were filmed by "Girls Gone Wild" cameramen in Florida in 2003. The contempt citation was issued after Francis rebuffed a judge's order to settle the case with the aid of a mediator.

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