German Kids TV Executive Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Fraud

Manager at German kids channel Kika conned network of $12 million to feed gambling addiction.

COLOGNE, Germany - A German television executive who misappropriated some $12 million from publicly-funded children's channel Kika has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after making a full confession. The 44-year-old, known as Marco K., was a production manager at the channel and defrauded his employers of millions over several years. Together he and a Berlin production company billed Kika for services that were never carried out and split the proceeds. Marco K. used the cash to feed his gambling habit, blowing tens of thousands on a single night at his local casino.

Kika is children's television channel jointly run by German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and funded by a TV tax that all German households are required to pay. The case is the latest and most dramatic of a series of scandals at German pubwebs, including one involving a editor commissioning her own pseudonymously-written teleplays and several linked to illegal product placement. So far, however, the revelations have not led to a public outcry.