“Girls Gone Wild” Creator, Residing in Hole, Continues to Dig

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Joe Francis, the entrepreneur who has made umpteen million dollars from the "Girls Gone Wild" videos, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on two counts of tax evasion.  He was easy to find because, as you may recall from a week or two ago, he is in jail in Florida, having been found in contempt of court in connection with a civil case against him there.  (Originally, he claimed the judge had "gone wild" and he refused to surrender, but later changed his mind when people with guns showed up.)   The indictment charges that Francis deducted over $20 million in false business expenses for two of his companies, including $3.78 million in "business costs," which I guess would be legit if your business involves building yourself an estate in Mexico.

The good news for Francis is that the civil case in Florida has now settled.  The bad news (besides the federal indictment) is that he has managed to get himself charged with nine additional crimes during his stay in jail for contempt of court.  Allegedly, Francis tried to bribe a jail guard by "buying" a bottled water from him for $100.  When the guard refused, he upped it to $500, which doesn’t show very good negotiation skills but I guess the guy was thirsty.  Since inmates are not supposed to have cash at all, this also prompted a search of the cell which uncovered a variety of drugs, apparently prescription drugs but still contraband under the jail rules.  Also in trouble for this is Scott Barbour, an "associate" of Francis who apparently brought the cash and drugs to him in jail.  Investigators listened to recorded phone calls from Francis to Barbour asking for the contraband.  Barbour, who is an attorney, should probably know that inmate calls are recorded.  And maybe he did, but was willing to risk it in order to get his friend the money he needed to survive in a hellish place where bottled water is unavailable even for  $500 a pop.

Francis told reporters the other day that he would "give up a billion dollars [if he had to], but it will be under duress," apparently believing "duress" to be a possible argument he could raise on appeal.

Link: KNBC-TV (California)
Link: WJHG-TV (Florida)