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Two arrested for allegedly stealing $2 million from movie studio

March 24, 2012 | 12:27 pm

For five years, a low-level employee at Santa Monica-based Lionsgate Entertainment arranged for the company to pay a cardboard salesman more than $2 million for marketing display boxes he never delivered, authorities said.

On Friday, both men, Roccio James Cuccia, 31, of Downey and Larry D. Collins, 50, of Northridge were arrested by federal agents on wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion charges.

Lionsgate hired Cuccia in 2006 to buy the cardboard displays the company uses in stores to promote DVDs and Blu-Ray disks, authorities said. Collins was one of his vendors.

Cuccia is accused of altering company computer files to artificially inflate the size of the orders, and therefore the payments, that went to Collins.  In return, Collins allegedly wired a portion of the extra cash to Cuccia's bank account, authorities said.

Cuccia is accused of using some of his proceeds to buy a Toyota Camry Hybrid and a Mercedes-Benz, according to a prepared statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on Saturday.

If convicted on all charges listed in the 14-count indictment, Cuccia faces 226 years in prison and Collins faces 200 years, according to the news release. Reached at home Saturday, Cuccia declined to comment.

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-- Jack Dolan

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