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'Girls Gone Wild' founder Joe Francis sentenced in tax evasion and jail bribery case

November 6, 2009 | 12:45 pm
A federal judge sentenced “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis today to 301 days already served and a year of probation in a case in which the soft-porn mogul pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns and bribing jail workers.

In September, Francis, 36, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of filing false tax returns in which he withheld $500,000 in interest income and another of bribing jail workers for food by giving them as much as $5,000 in goods. He was also ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. 

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero accepted Francis’ deal on the grounds that a key witness withheld information from prosecutors.

“It took us seven months, but in the end we demonstrated that the felony tax charges never should have been brought in the first place,” Brad Brian, Francis’ lead trial attorney, said in a statement. “As a result, the indictment was dismissed and the charges were reduced to only two misdemeanors with no jail time."

-- Baxter Holmes
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