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Film director charged with fraud in Massachusetts

/ Source: Reuters

A Los Angeles-based filmmaker was charged Friday with defrauding Massachusetts of almost $5 million in inflated tax credits for two movies he made along the state's scenic Cape Cod shoreline.

Daniel Adams, 50, is accused of fraudulently submitting tax credit applications that claimed exaggerated expenses related to 2008's "The Golden Boys" and 2009's "The Lightkeepers," said Brad Puffer, spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Adams was arraigned Friday morning in Boston Municipal Court on two counts each of making a false claim to the state and larceny over $250. He was held on $100,000 bail.

"We allege that this defendant knowingly defrauded taxpayers by lying about his production costs with the purpose of generating funding for his films and his own personal profit," Coakley said in a statement.

Adams was arrested Thursday by Massachusetts State Police. His attorney, Steven Topazio, said authorities charged him this week to keep him in the state while the investigation continues, out of concern that he would return to California.

"It sounds to me that they are trying to get quick resolution to this. But you can't rush to judgment," Topazio said.

Under Massachusetts law, movie production firms are eligible for a 25-percent tax credit for payroll and filmmaking expenses incurred in the state. But in a scheme prosecutors allege began in 2006, Adams is accused of intentionally inflating expenses when completing forms for the tax credit.

Prosecutors say an investigation that started in 2010 found evidence he submitted expenses for the two movies, resulting in the state overpaying some $4.7 million to his production companies. Prosecutors said one of Adams' false claims was paying actor Richard Dreyfuss $2.5 million when his actual fee was $400,000.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A hearing is set for Wednesday.

"The Golden Boys," set in the early 20th century, starred David Carradine, Rip Torn and Bruce Dern, while "The Lightkeepers," set in 1914, featured Dreyfuss, Julie Harris, and Blythe Danner. Both were written and directed by Adams.

Adams also directed and wrote "The Big Valley," based on the classic TV series of the same name that starred Barbara Stanwyck and Lee Majors.