Horizon Entertainment at center of renewed film tax credit fraud investigation

Category: Credit Matters Published: Saturday, 14 March 2015 Written by Admin

Following news of a video editor claimingHorizon Entertainment did not deserve all of the $1 million in motion picture tax credits it earned,State Inspector General Stephen Street has reopened an investigation into the business productions.

Streets office and Louisiana Economic Development SecretaryStephen Moret issued a joint statement with news of the investigation Friday (Feb. 27).

The case was the subject of a WVUE Fox 8story earlier this weekin which video editor John Beyer, who worked on Horizon Entertainments Saintsational TV series based on the New Orleans Saints dance team, saidhe didnt believe the production company spent close to what it claimed on tax credit forms.

I dont even think a quarter of a million was spent, Beyer told the TV station.

In order for the creators of a film to be awarded tax credits, the state requires an external audit of all expenses be submitted, along with other supporting documents.

Horizons documents apparently sounded an alarm with LED when they were initially filed in 2010, according to the statement released today. LED referred the case back then to the Inspector General.

That initial referral was investigated by the IG but did not result in prosecution. With new information revealed by FOX 8, LED has asked the IG to revisit all Horizon Entertainment productions that received film production tax credits, the statement reads.

The renewed investigation will also include a probe into Horizons Family Gras, which focused on Jefferson Parishsevent ofthe same name.

Read the statement in full, below:

LED has no tolerance for abuse of any state incentive program. On several occasions since 2008, LED has referred to the Office of State Inspector General (IG) film tax credit matters where LEDs staff has had suspicions of fraud, which could not be confirmed solely from the evidence available to LED, even after a review by a certified fraud examiner engaged by LED. In these instances, further investigation is required by a law enforcement agency that has the authority to subpoena records from third parties. LED also has worked cooperatively with the IG and FBI on some of these cases and others. Some of these cases have resulted in federal prosecutions and convictions while others remain in progress. In the case of Horizon Entertainment, which recently was the focus of an investigative TV report by FOX 8, LED referred its concerns about Horizon (including the Saintsational and Family Gras productions) to the IG in approximately late 2010. That initial referral was investigated by the IG but did not result in prosecution. With new information revealed by FOX 8, LED has asked the IG to revisit all Horizon Entertainment productions that received film production tax credits.As the investigation has been reopened, there will be no further comment from the Inspector General.



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