Man sentenced to 6 months in prison for film tax credit scheme

Man sentenced to 6 months in prison for film tax credit scheme

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man who conspired to use interstate wire communications for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud the State of Louisiana's Motion Picture Industry Development Tax Credit Program, has been sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,200,000 in restitution to the State of Louisiana.

Matthew Keith, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and admitted that he owned and operated Dirty District Entertainment, LLC, which provided technical services for the productions of motion pictures.

According to the Department of Justice, Keith admitted that he conspired with at least one other person to present falsely inflated expenditures to the State of Louisiana in the application for film tax credits.

Between June 10, 2009 and March 31, 2010, a co-conspirator applied for, and received, tax credits from the Louisiana Economic Development Office ("LED") for various movies. The LED is a state entity with the mission to lead economic development for the State of Louisiana.

LED operated the Tax Credit Program, which was designed to entice production companies to shoot films and video productions in Louisiana. The Tax Credit Program provided a 30 percent tax credit on qualified expenditures for the production of films in Louisiana. Once issued by LED, the tax credits were fully transferable.

In this case, however, Keith admitted that he conspired with at least one other individual to make a series of financial transfers, which were later used to falsely reflect $4,000,000 of expenditures that had purportedly been incurred in motion picture productions.

These false expenditures allowed a co-conspirator to be awarded tax credits, and Keith admitted that the co-conspirator was not entitled to $1,200,000 of the tax credits he received.

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