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Film producer accepts plea deal for embezzlement

On Aug. 8, a 56-year-old film producer in California agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of stolen property as part of a plea deal. The felony offense is related to the producer's alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million from Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund, an investment fund run by billionaire Ron Burkle.

According to prosecutors, the accused man worked with Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund and used his position with the company to embezzle money over a period of more than five years. The producer admitted that he moved the money across the country to New Jersey. Prior to the criminal case, Yucaipa had helped the accused man produce the 2006 Whoopi Goldberg comedy 'Homie Spumoni" which went straight to DVD. The accused man also co-produced 'The Cell" starring Jennifer Lopez in 2000.

Though a charge for interstate transportation of stolen property can have a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, the producer is not expected to spend more than two years behind bars. As part of his plea deal, the man will be sentenced to between 18 and 24 months in federal prison. The man's sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 7.

A person who has been charged with embezzlement or a similar financial fraud may want to speak with an attorney about defense strategies. If the prosecution does not have a strong case, an attorney may help a defendant to argue that the accusation is faulty and based upon accounting errors and oversights. An attorney may also be able to help a defendant negotiate for a minimal sentence as part of a plea deal.

Source: Calabasas Patch, "J.Lo's Former Producing Partner Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $1.5 Million," Aug. 8, 2016

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