Joe Francis accuses his own employees of going wild

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Joe Francis accuses his own employees of going wild

Wed Sep 02, 2009 @ 12:21PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


6a00d83451d69069e2010536f06c75970b "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis is alleging another wild conspiracy.

Francis has faced major tax troubles over the last few years, including a felony case that accused the softcore porn mogul of deducting more than $20 million in phony business expenses. Now, after allegedly hiring investigators to look into the matter, Francis has fingered the cause of those troubles: an elaborate scheme run by his company's chief financial officer, Michael Barrett, the company's chief technology officer, Roman Pelikh, and the company's vice president of operations, Will L'Heureux.

According to a press release trumpeting a new multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against these individuals in Los Angeles County Superior Court, "the three went wild, filing and then approving phony invoices they wrote themselves."

Francis knows a thing or two about wild court cases. He once filed a whopper of a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy between a U.S. District Judge, the parents of underaged women, the judge's former law partners, and government officials in both the U.S. and Panama. He also accused his own lawyers of going wild too.

In his latest case, Francis has turned on three of the highest executives at Mantra Films, keeper of the "GGW" franchise. He alleges the three set up shadow companies including WMR Marketing (named after the first names of the perpetrators), CPI Telecom, Western PC Professionals and Office Trade Center. Francis says he has filed a police report, but no arrests have been made.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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