DOWNEY - A Downey man was arrested Friday by FBI and IRS agents for his role in a $2 million kickback scheme targeting film and distribution company Lionsgate Entertainment.Roccio James Cuccia, 31, of Downey, and Larry D. Collins, 50, of Northridge, were charged in a 14 count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on March 22. The indictment includes allegations of wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. According to the indictment, Cuccia started working as a senior buyer at Lionsgate in January 2006 and was responsible for acquiring cardboard advertising used to display DVDs at retail stores. Cuccia allegedly used Collins as a vendor to supply the cases from 2006 through 2011. Cuccia and Collins allegedly worked together to overbill Lionsgate. Cuccia would access Lionsgate's computer system and inflate the number of previously approved display cases ordered from Collins, according to the indictment. Collins would then allegedly generate fraudulent invoices for the inflated purchase orders. Lionsgate sent payment for the inflated purchase orders to a third party, who would then wire a "substantial percentage" of these funds to Cuccia's bank account. The indictment alleges that Cuccua and Collins defrauded Lionsgate of more than $2 million. The indictment lists 10 wire transfers totaling over $745,000 which represents funds received by Collins as part of the scheme, a portion of which were then wired to Cuccia. Cuccia allegedly used part of the funds to purchase a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and a 2006 Mercedes Benz, both of which were seized by federal agents Friday. According to the indictment, Cuccia failed to report his portion of the fraudulently received income on his 2006 and 2007 tax returns. Cuccia and Collins had an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last Friday and were granted bond. If convicted of all charges alleged in the indictment, Cuccia could receive 226 years in federal prison.
********** Published: March 29, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 50