Allegations of Fraud in the Financing of Several Independent Films

This case study delves into a financial dispute involving allegations of fraud in the financing of independent films, implicating both the CEO and CFO of a film financing company.

ByZach Barreto


Published on March 1, 2024

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Case Overview

This case study explores a complex financial dispute involving the financing of several independent films. The CEO of the film financing company is alleged to have engaged in fraudulent behavior, with accusations also implicating the company's CFO. However, it should be noted that the CFO was an independent finance officer and had no known connections or knowledge of the CEO's purported fraudulent activities.

An expert in independent film financing was called upon to scrutinize all relevant financials related to the case and provide commentary on general fiduciary duty and accounting principles within the film financing industry.

Questions to the Film expert and their responses


Can you briefly describe your experience in film finance, particularly as it pertains to the financing principles used for independent films with smaller budgets?

As an expert witness, I bring over a decade of experience in the independent film industry. My career began with a three-year stint at an indie distributor, now part of a larger entity. Subsequently, I moved to a studio where I established and managed a worldwide production and acquisition group. Our focus was on attending global film festivals with an aim to acquire and/or produce/co-produce international independent films.

My team comprised executives specializing in various areas such as production finance, business affairs, physical, and post-production among others. Independent film financing is a highly competitive field that relies heavily on relationships and is supported by international sales estimates.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, could you please elaborate?

Yes, I have encountered cases where fraudulent activities were suspected in the independent film financing industry. For instance, there were instances such as 120db or Relativity Media where fraud prevention measures failed despite being in place.

The specialty requested on this case was Independent Film Financing. This case study provides insights into the complexities of financial disputes within the independent film industry and underscores the importance of expert knowledge in resolving such issues. It also highlights the potential pitfalls and challenges inherent in independent film financing, making it a valuable resource for attorneys specializing in this area.

About the expert

This expert brings to the table 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, with a strong background in radio, TV, and film. They have held high-ranking positions such as Senior Vice President of Live Entertainment and International Co-production and Worldwide Acquisitions at a major film corporation. Currently leading their own production company, this expert also has experience as an instructor on the business of entertainment and as a chief programmer for a renowned film festival.

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About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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