2 men accused of stealing 1.2 million from tax payers, through film credit program

POSTED: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 7:09pm

Two alleged thieves are being targeted by the feds for cheating the state out of extra film tax credit money and that's more than a million dollars out of your pocket.

Daniel Garcia and Matthew Keith are being investigated by the feds for illegally taking more than million dollars. The Louisiana Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit Program gives 30 percent of expenses back to people investing in films. But according to federal investigators, these two took more money then was due them.

Baton Rouge ranks 3rd, next to LA and New York for film production and a lot of that are thanks to the Motion Picture Tax Credit Program.

"We have zero tolerance policy attempting to misuse the programs," said Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, Christopher Stelly.

With an independent audit system to make sure nothing slips through the cracks, this program is here to help grow our economy.

Patrick Mulhearn knows its importance, so now after hearing about two men who may have abused it, it causes some concern and raises questions.

"We all know who they are, those guys have actually shot here before but its been years,’ said Director of Studio Operations at Celtic Media Centre, Patrick Mulhearn.”With such a generous system that anyone would want to fraud it is really beyond me."

But after being investigated, these two men and others who may be involved in this alleged conspiracy are just one instance, that the state says is very rare but you don't need to worry, your money is safe.

"We take our mission and our responsibilities very seriously top priority is to protect the tax payer investments; these are the tax payer investment."

And film industry people like Mulhearn say; sometimes instances like this are unavoidable, no matter what the industry.

"If they are going to go so far as to lie and commit fraud and fake whatever I don’t know how anyone can police that I mean criminals are criminals," noted Mulhearn.

Secretary of Economic Development, Steven Moret would not comment on this specific case, be he told nbc33 news that court docuements were filed Friday looking into reports of misuse of the tax credit program.

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