Two men involved in film production in Baton Rouge were charged separately Friday by federal prosecutors, who alleged they participated in a conspiracy that cost Louisiana taxpayers at least $1.2 million.
Daniel Garcia “owned and operated DMG Holdings LLC and Louisiana Film Finishers LLC, which were located in Baton Rouge,” U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Menner Jr. alleged in a bill of information.
Matthew Keith “owned and operated Dirty District Entertainment LLC, which was located in Baton Rouge,” the prosecutors alleged in a separate bill of information.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” Cazayoux said late Friday, declining to comment further.
Both Garcia and Keith were investigated by the FBI, according to court records.
Neither Garcia nor Keith could be located for comment. Telephone calls and emails seeking comment from the defendants’ attorneys were not returned late Friday.
Both Garcia and Keith are charged for allegedly working with unnamed others in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Louisiana taxpayers are described as victims of the alleged conspiracy.
As explained in court papers filed by prosecutors, the Louisiana Economic Development Office operated the state’s Motion Picture Industry Development Tax Credit Program, which was designed to encourage film and video production in the state.
“The tax credit program provided a 30 percent state income tax credit on qualified expenditures for the production of films in Louisiana,” prosecutors wrote. They noted that the tax credits are “fully transferable” once issued by the state.
Keith allegedly worked with others, including a man identified as “D.G.,” owner and operator of DMG Holdings and Louisiana Film Finishers. “D.G.” is an apparent reference to Daniel Garcia based on the court filings.
Through “multiple transfers of funds among four separate companies,” the charge filed against Keith alleges, “D.G. received approximately $1.2 million of tax credits to which he was not entitled.”
Wire transfers to banks in Baton Rouge from banks in Gulfport, Miss., and Irving, Texas, were among evidence prosecutors cited against both Keith and “D.G.,” according to Keith’s charge.
Daniel Garcia, identified in his bill of information as owner of both DMG Holdings and Louisiana Film Finishers, allegedly used the same tactics to fraudulently obtain “$900,000 of tax credits to which he was not entitled.”
Neither man’s charge specifies whether the $900,000 in tax credits alleged to have been fraudulently received by Garcia was in addition to the $1.2 million fraudulently received by “D.G.” In both cases, the transactions occurred between June 10, 2009, and March 31, 2010.
DMG Holdings LLC stated in a civil suit filed in federal court in New Orleans in July 2011 that the company was responsible for direction, writing and production of three films: “Journey to Promethea,” Flesh Wounds” and “Bed & Breakfast.”
Dirty District Entertainment LLC is listed at a Prairieville address by the Louisiana secretary of state. Matt Keith is listed as the firm’s agent and manager. The firm remains active, according to state records, but it has not filed an annual report since December 2011.
Both DMG Holdings LLC and Louisiana Film Finishers LLC are listed in 2010 state records at a shared office in Metairie. Garcia is listed as a member of Louisiana Film Finishers. He is not listed on the 2010 report for DMG Holdings.
Neither firm filed an annual report with the secretary of state for 2011 or 2012. Both are listed as active companies.