He beat federal prosecutors on felony tax fraud charges once before, and former Seven Arts Entertainment CEO Peter Hoffman says he’ll do it again. Indicted in April for allegedly masterminding a fraudulent film tax credit scheme in Louisiana, Hoffman told Deadline that he believes the U.S. Attorney’s office has “targeted” him because of his acquittal in another federal tax fraud case dating back to 1997. He said his attorneys will file a motion to dismiss the charges in Louisiana on Wednesday.
Hoffman, the once high-flying master of foreign tax breaks, has had a bad year. Last June, he stepped down as CEO of Seven Arts Entertainment, although he remains its chief counsel and a member of its board of directors, and four months later, the company announced that it had lost more than $33 million over the previous two years on revenues of only $5.5 million.
On Friday, the company he founded saw the value of its stock plummet 15%. At the start of trading Friday, it was already one of the cheapest stocks on the NASDAQ exchange, going for just 1/5th of a penny per share – down from a high of $517.84 just two years ago. At Friday’s closing bell it got even cheaper, falling another 6.79% in afterhours trading. Anyone still holding onto the stocks from two years ago has essentially lost all of their investment, and Hoffman was one of the company’s largest shareholders.
Hoffman’s latest legal problems began in March of 2012 when the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Orleans slapped the company with a subpoena for the discovery of documents relating to Louisiana film infrastructure tax credits that Seven Arts had received to refurbish a dilapidated old mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter and convert it into a modern post-production facility. (more…)