Superseding Indictment Returned Against Peter Hoffman, Michael Arata, And Susan Hoffman For Fraudulent Film Tax Credit Scheme
PETER M. HOFFMAN, age 63, of Los Angeles, California; MICHAEL P. ARATA, age 47, of New Orleans, Louisiana; and SUSAN HOFFMAN, age 69, of New Orleans, Louisiana were charged yesterday in a twenty-two count Superseding Indictment by a Federal Grand Jury, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.
According to the Superseding Indictment, the Louisiana Motion Picture Incentive Act (LMPIA) was enacted to provide incentives for and encourage the filming of motion pictures and television programs in Louisiana. Under the LMPIA, companies making motion pictures were eligible to receive tax credits which were calculated as a percentage of the companies’ qualified expenditures in Louisiana. Qualified expenditures upon which companies could receive tax credits included expenditures on infrastructure. Infrastructure expenditures only included the purchase, construction and use of facilities that were directly related to and utilized for motion picture production in Louisiana. In order to qualify for infrastructure tax credits, all funds had to be actually expended, and such expenditures had to be verified by an independent Louisiana Certified Public Accountant. Businesses that applied to the State for infrastructure tax credits were entitled to receive an amount equal to 40% of their qualified and audited infrastructure expenditures. Once this amount was certified by the State of Louisiana, the applicants could then sell the certification to local businesses and individuals. Such sale of tax credits provided for a significant source of cash for film projects.
The Superseding Indictment adds co-defendant SUSAN HOFFMAN, a California film producer who relocated to the New Orleans area. SUSAN HOFFMAN and PETER HOFFMAN are married but have been legally separated since approximately 1998. SUSAN HOFFMAN owned and operated several companies including Leeway Properties, New Moon Pictures, LLC, and Seven Arts Pictures Louisiana, LLC. Through their respective companies, PETER HOFFMAN, MICHAEL ARATA, and SUSAN HOFFMAN were partners in different movie-industry business ventures.
The Superseding Indictment also expands the time frame of the offense conduct, to on or about February 3, 2010. Further, it adds four counts against MICHAEL ARATA for making false statements to a FBI Special Agent.
U.S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Superseding Indictment is merely a charge and that guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Louisiana Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys G. Dall Kammer and Jordan Ginsberg.