LOS ANGELES – A former finance manager of a television production studio was sentenced this morning to two years in federal prison for embezzling approximately $2.5 million from the Culver City company.
Nolan Mitchell Ransdell, 41, of Canyon Country, was sentenced by United States District Judge George Wu. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wu ordered Ransdell to pay $2,458,589 in restitution.
Ransdell previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud and admitted that he stole money from his employer, Studio Lambert USA, which is now known as All3Media America. Ransdell embezzled the money in several ways, including forging an executive’s signature on checks Ransdell had made out to himself. Ransdell also took checks that the executive had pre-signed for “emergency” use and made himself the payee. In addition, Ransdell made checks payable to a subordinate, and then instructed that employee to cash the checks and return the money to him. Ransdell also made unauthorized cash withdrawals from Studio Lambert’s bank accounts.
Studio Lambert USA, a subsidiary of a British studio, produced television shows for distribution in the United States, including Undercover Boss and Wife Swap. Studio Lambert’s parent company noticed that the accounting for the production accounts was not consistent with the accounting for the corporate accounts. When asked to explain the differences, Ransdell made up excuses, for instance, saying that discrepancies were the result of payment delays in connection with prepaid debit cards. Once it realized it was the victim of embezzlement, Studio Lambert contacted the FBI and assisted in the investigation.
The case against Ransdell is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.