An attorney for Peter Hoffman, the Hollywood producer convicted this spring of cheating Louisiana’s film tax credit program, asked a federal judge Tuesday to delay Hoffman’s sentencing, saying his client recently suffered a heart attack.
The attorney, Lance Unglesby, told U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in a court filing that Hoffman, 65, underwent triple-bypass surgery on May 27, about a month after he was found guilty of conspiracy and several counts of mail and wire fraud. Hoffman was scheduled to be sentenced in August.
A federal jury in New Orleans also convicted Hoffman’s wife, Susan, and New Orleans attorney Michael Arata in a scheme to inflate the costs of a multimillion-dollar construction project in which the business partners renovated a dilapidated mansion on Esplanade Avenue into a post-production studio.
The renovation qualified for a 40 percent tax credit rebate under a state program intended to stimulate building of local filmmaking infrastructure.
Prosecutors said Arata and the Hoffmans conspired to bilk the state out of millions of dollars in tax credits they had not earned by misleading a series of auditors and state officials about the amount of money being spent on the old mansion.
Hoffman was the founder of California-based Seven Arts Entertainment, the company at the center of the scheme.
All three defendants recently asked Feldman to grant them a new trial, a motion the judge intends to hear Aug. 12, a week before the scheduled sentencing date. In his court filing Tuesday, Unglesby asked for more time to prepare, saying his client had suffered a heart attack May 23.
“He is still recovering from this surgery, and as such will be unable to meaningfully work with his counsel to do the enormous amount of preparation necessary for hearings on his motions and his sentencing in the relatively short time frame of seven days,” Unglesby wrote, referring to the time between the two hearings.
Federal prosecutors have objected to a delay in sentencing, according to court documents.
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