Seven Arts Founder Peter Hoffman Pleads Not Guilty To Tax Credit Fraud In Louisiana

Peter Hoffman pleaded not guilty today at his arraignment in Federal District Court in New Orleans on six felony counts of defrauding Louisiana’s film incentive program. A trial has been set for January. A hearing on the Seven Arts Entertainment founder’s motion to dismiss the charges is scheduled for July 16. Hoffman, his ex-wife, producer Susan Hoffman, and actor and film producer Michael Arata – whose wife is the deputy mayor PeterHoffman-RingMasterofSevenArtsof New Orleans – were indicted earlier this year in what federal prosecutors allege was a conspiracy to defraud the state of $1.13 million in Louisiana tax credits without having done the work they told state officials they were going to do to turn a rundown Crescent City mansion into a state-of-the-art postproduction house and residence for visiting film crews. The arraignment of Susan Hoffman and Arata was continued until June 25.

At the heart of the case is a once-elegant three-story mansion at 807 Esplanade Avenue in the French Quarter that had been abandoned for years and fallen into a severe state of disrepair before Seven Arts bought it in 2007. After obtaining Louisiana tax credits to perform major repairs and restoration, it reopened as Esplanade Studios in July 2012.

Related: Seven Arts Stock Plummets To One-Tenth Of A Penny


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