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Judge accepts plea deal for 'Girls Gone Wild' founder Joe Francis

The soft-porn mogul is sentenced to 301 days already served and a year of probation for filing false income tax returns and bribing Nevada jail workers.

November 07, 2009|Baxter Holmes

A federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis to 301 days already served and a year of probation after the soft-porn mogul's guilty plea to filing false income tax returns and bribing Nevada jail workers.

Francis also must pay nearly $250,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service as part of Friday's sentencing by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero.

Otero accepted the plea bargain involving misdemeanor charges after a key witness withheld information from prosecutors.

"It took us seven months, but in the end we demonstrated that the felony tax charges never should have been brought in the first place," Brad Brian, Francis' lead trial attorney, said in a statement.

Francis politely answered questions during the hearing, then turned and kissed his mother after he was sentenced.

"I think we won that one," he said after the hearing.

Francis, who films and markets videos of young women, was indicted by a federal grand jury on tax evasion charges in 2007. He initially was accused of taking $20 million in fraudulent tax deductions.

In a deal with prosecutors, Francis, 36, pleaded guilty in September to two misdemeanor counts of filing false tax returns, omitting $500,000 in interest income on tax returns and one count of bribing jail workers for food by giving them as much as $5,000 in goods.

Francis vowed to steer clear of trouble and get back to work building the "Girls Gone Wild" brand in the U.S. and abroad.

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baxter.holmes@latimes.com

The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.

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