Former Payroll Services Executive John Visconti Arrested

John Visconti, the former CEO of Axium International, was arrested for taking millions of dollars from the Hollywood payroll-services company before it went bust in 2008.

Authorities said that 71-year-old Visconti was arrested Monday by IRS agents when he appeared at a courthouse on an unrelated matter. He was arraigned on a three-count indictment and pleaded not guilty later that day, and then he was freed on $100,000 bond.

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Authorities allege that Visconti and a "co-conspirator" -- whom they identified only as another former officer of Axium -- took weekly cash payments of about $8,000 a week from Axium for two years and formed a consulting company that billed Axium for $570,000, but didn't disclose they were profiting from the arrangement.

It is further alleged that Visconti arranged for thousands of dollars paid to an Axium employee to be cycled back to a bank account controlled by Visconti.

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Visconti is charged with conspiracy, tax evasion and filing a false tax return. If he is convicted on all three counts, he will face a statutory minimum sentence of 13 years in federal prison. A trial is set for July 29.

Axium filed for bankruptcy in January 2008, and many of its assets were acquired by Entertainment Partners for $7.05 million a month later. EP also acquired some of Axium's former clients and hired some of its employees.

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