Jonathan Lee Smith, the CEO of two Hollywood production companies that specialize in producing reality TV shows, has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud to obtain a $2 million business loan through fabricated documents and misrepresenting his companies’ financial circumstances.
Smith, who managed or owned Hoplite Entertainment and Hoplite Inc., agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
“To convince a private lender to fund a $2 million loan last year, Smith falsely represented that his two companies had accounts receivable of $3,348,000, and he submitted falsified license agreements and other forgeries to back up the claim,” the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, which prosecuted the case, said Tuesday. “To convince the private lender to give him additional time to repay the loan, court documents state, Smith falsely represented that payment was imminent. He also emailed a fake record showing a $100,000 wire payment from Hoplite, Inc. to the lender. In reality, the loan was never repaid.”
As part of the plea agreement, Smith has agreed to pay $2 million in restitution. He is expected to make his initial appearance in the case in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on July 6. The FBI investigated the case, and Assistant United States Attorney Alexander B. Schwab of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting.
Hoplite Entertainment has produced such reality shows as Wrecking Plan, Ink Therapy, Geared Up, Culinary Escapes, Charged & Disbarred, Hot Spots, Recipe Hunters, Drone Wars, Slope Slap, Back in the Game, Living Out Loud and We Bought a Vineyard.
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