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Girls Gone Wild Founder Files Civil Suit

August 22, 2008 · 8 comments

Joe Francis has spent his life duping young girls into flashing their breasts in front of a camera. Now, he’s claiming that he’s the one that’s been duped.

As previously reported, Francis is facing a trial in September on federal charges, including tax evasion. The fed allege that Francis claimed over $20 million in phony business expenses on his corporate tax returns for 2002 and 2003. He is also accused of shifting assets overseas in an effort to avoid taxation. Francis faces up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if found guilty.

Jail would, of course, not be new to Francis who recently served 11 months in jail on charges arising from complaints that he filmed naked underage girls. He subsequently pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges while in prison for possession of Alprazolam, Lorazepam, sleeping pills and cash.

Francis plans to argue that he is the victim of an accountant with an agenda. He claims that his accountant set him up by preparing returns without his knowledge and then turning him into the IRS under the whistleblower program.

It sounds like a crazy defense – but I could be wrong. I missed the boat on the Wesley Snipes trial since I was sure that Snipes would be found guilty on more charges; Snipes was acquitted of the most serious charges. Apparently, Francis has been reading up on his tax trials, since he retained the same firm, Bernhoft Law, to represent him as Snipes used.

Francis has fired back at the accountant, Michael Barrett, by filing a lawsuit against him for unspecified damages. Francis claims that Barrett hoped to gain at least $10 million for his part in turning Francis into the IRS.

And there’s more… This week, Francis announced that he was filing a lawsuit in Florida to rescind his no contest settlement in Florida. He is also suing in Florida for alleged civil rights abuses during his stint in Florida jail; he is seeking $300 million in compensation.

Francis, of course, has been the target of many lawsuits himself. He has been sued by several girls, claiming that they were tricked into appearing on his “Girls Gone Wild” movies – including Ashley Dupre, the call girl involved in former New York Governor Spitzer’s escort scandal (Dupre later dropped her suit). Casino giant Steve Wynn has filed suit against Francis to collect on a $2 million gambling debt; Francis alleges that he was tricked into gambling after Wynn provided prostitutes.

(So much trickery!)

Francis alleges that the feds and others are simply targeting him in an effort to shut down his business. He told reporters:

I’m not selling Bibles, you know. At the end of the day, I’m selling naked girls. People want to buy naked girls.

Nice.

But he has at least a handful of B list (C list?) celebs rallying to his side… the Kardashian family, who will still be photographed with family is best known for daughter Kim’s large, um, assets, and a sex tape. Yeah, that’s the kind of solid “backing” Francis needs. And Francis’ profile will get a boost this fall when he reportedly appears in Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.” The Donald said about Francis:

He’s a smart guy. He’s a brilliant marketer. A lot of people don’t like what he markets, but that’s a different subject.

Filming underaged girls? Taking drugs in jail? Not checking out his multi-million dollar tax returns?

I dunno. He doesn’t sound terribly smart to me.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter August 22, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Come on, Tax Girl, haven’t we progressed beyond the “women are passive victims” stage of gender equality?

Those duped girls seemed to be having a great time . . . so I’ve heard. Wink, wink.

2 Kelly August 31, 2008 at 6:52 am

Oh don’t misinterpret… I don’t think being stupid and being a passive victim are the same thing… But the presence of alcohol at these Girls Gone Wild events combined with their ages says to me that the decision to flash cameras so that someone else can make money off of their breasts isn’t necessarily well thought out.

3 Lisa April 10, 2010 at 7:23 am

This could be a pretty convincing article, but when one can’t be bothered to look up the correct spelling of two (very common) medications this guy supposedly abused, how can we be sure the rest of the article has been fact-checked? (alprazolam… lorazepam)

4 Kelly April 10, 2010 at 8:06 am

Thanks for pointing out the errors. For all that they’re apparently common, I’m not familiar with either med – having neither used (nor abused) either. :)

I do fact check my stories and can advise that I got the ok on the facts from someone who was very involved with this story. But I do regret the spelling errors on the meds (making the change now).

5 KDLNeal April 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

The final remark seems unnecessary. Anyone experienced with life should have learned that people who are very adept at one thing are seldom equally adept in other aspects of their life and even in that area of success do still make serious blunders. For example, the choices made by the girls in the videos are not necessarily indicative of their entire lifestyle – but also not necessarily non-indicative. The same holds for spell-checking a medication versus fact-checking a story.

6 Kelly April 10, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Again, thanks for your comments. The article was spell-checked. It didn’t catch the meds and I had no reason to believe otherwise since the information was from a reliable source. My apologies for the errors, which were changed earlier today.

But I stand by the idea that breaking the law while out of jail (as well as while in jail) plus failing to review your own tax returns for a multi-million business are not behaviors that I would consider smart.

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