Producer Julio Caro has been charged with stealing nearly $1.5 million from an investment firm in which he was a partner and moving the stolen money across state lines. He has agreed to plead guilty to the theft and will make his first appearance in U.S. District Court on July 27.
“This defendant exploited his position of trust by stealing money from a business he had been partners with for years,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Caro then engaged in another crime by moving the pilfered money across the country.”
Caro, through his company Broken Rose Productions, entered into a limited liability agreement with the Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund in early 2005. The resulting corporation, which was called R-Caro Productions, produced two films, including the comedy Homie Spumoni, which in 2006 was distributed by Warner Bros and starred Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Faison. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, when Warner Bros sent distribution proceeds to R-Caro, the money should have gone to Yucaipa, which had provided much of the financing for the film. Instead, “Caro stole these funds and used these funds to pay for his personal expenses, including, but not limited to, his mortgage and car lease payments,” according to the plea agreement.
“Mr. Caro violated both the law and his partner’s trust when he embezzled royalty payments and transferred the stolen funds to the East Coast,” said Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. “This case should serve as a warning to those who evade detection by crossing state lines.”
The charge of interstate transportation of stolen property carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Caro is perhaps best known as the producer of The Cell, which starred Jennifer Lopez. The case against Caro was investigated by the FBI.