7:16pm PT by Alex Ben Block
'The Bachelor' Accountant Accused of Stealing $600,000
The production company behind ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette filed suit Wednesday against one of its production accountants charging that he misappropriated at least $600,000 with the intent to defraud the company.
The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by AND Syndicated Productions of Burbank charges Iain Anderson, who is alleged to reside in Ventura, with “bogus transactions” and converting money he was not entitled to for his own use.
The suit says after AND did an investigation, “Anderson was unable to provide a reasonable explanation regarding any of these issues,” but did admit he “routinely deposited AND’s petty cash into his personal bank accounts.” The suit adds that Anderson refused to provide a full accounting for those deposits.
Anderson was the lead production accountant responsible for managing financial data for each production and maintaining accounting records. He was in charge of petty cash disbursements.
“In 2011,” says the suit, “AND became aware of numerous transactions involving Anderson that had been recorded falsely or were not supported by proper documentation.”
The suit says that his actions had “the effect of artificially inflating production expenses.”
Anderson converted the funds, according to the suit, by requesting petty cash for “bogus production related costs,” by “comingling production-related funds in his personal bank accounts,” and by using an account intended for temporary holiday related expenses “to record false and bogus transactions that had nothing to do with holiday related payroll expenses."
In some cases he allegedly transferred funds from one production to another to conceal “conversion of funds to his own possession.”
The suit leaves open the possibility that other employees were also involved but does not name them.
AND is asking for the return of the $600,000, plus interest, legal fees and punitive damages.
“Defendants’ acts,” says the suit, “were willful, wanton, malicious and oppressive, and were undertaken with the intent to defraud, and justify the award of exemplary and punitive damages.”
The suit filed by attorney Christopher G. Caldwell and Jennifer Lee Hong for AND does not say what has happened to Anderson or make reference to any possible criminal penalties. It does not appear that ABC is involved in any way at this time.
Attempts to reach Anderson were not successful.