2:28pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Producers Get Probation After Louisiana Film Tax-Credit Fraud Conviction
Producer and film company-tax break liaison Peter Hoffman isn't headed to prison over his conviction in an alleged scheme to defraud the state of Louisiana.
U.S. District judge Martin Feldman on Wednesday sentenced Hoffman to five years' probation, a $40,000 fine and 300 hours of community service, according to a statement issued by the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Kenneth A. Polite.
Hoffman and his partner, actor-attorney Michael Arata, were convicted of fraud after convincing authorities they were going to transform a dilapidated mansion at the edge of the French Quarter into a film postproduction facility and submitting false expense reports in order to receive Louisiana film tax credits.
Unglesby says they are appealing the conviction.
Prosecutors may appeal all three sentences, according to the statement from Polite's office.
“As a result of their collective efforts, a jury convicted Peter Hoffman, Susan Hoffman and Michael Arata of fraud and conspiracy for their roles in a scheme that utilized bogus invoices, fake expenditures and varied misrepresentations to defraud the State of Louisiana and its citizens out of millions of dollars,” said Polite in the statement. “This criminality was compounded by the fact that, as the Court found during sentencing, Peter Hoffman and Michael Arata used sophisticated means and abused positions of trust in committing these felonies, and Hoffman committed perjury during the trial. We will review this matter and consider seeking appeal of the sentences of all three defendants.”