LOS ANGELES – An independent film producer has been charged with interstate transportation of stolen property related to the theft of nearly $1.5 million that should have gone to his partner in a film production deal.
Julio Caro, 56, of Calabasas, was charged on Tuesday with moving money to New Jersey that had been stolen from an investment company called Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund I, LP.
When he was charged, prosecutors also filed a plea agreement in which Caro agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense and admitted that he stole a total of $1,487,529 from Yucaipa over five years.
“This defendant exploited his position of trust by stealing money from a business he had been partners with for years,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Caro then engaged in another crime by moving the pilfered money across the country.”
Caro has agreed to surrender to federal authorities and make his first appearance in United States District Court on July 27.
Caro, through his company, Broken Rose Productions, Inc. entered into a limited liability agreement with Yucaipa in early 2005. The resulting LLC, which was called R-Caro Productions, LLC produced two films, including “Homie Spumoni,” which was distributed by Warner Brothers Entertainment. When Warner Brothers sent distribution proceeds to R-Caro, the money should have gone to Yucaipa, which had provided much of the financing for the film. Instead, “Caro stole these funds and used these funds to pay for his personal expenses, including, but not limited to, his mortgage and car lease payments,” according to the plea agreement.
“Mr. Caro violated both the law and his partner’s trust when he embezzled royalty payments and transferred the stolen funds to the East Coast,” said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “This case should serve as a warning to those who evade detection by crossing state lines.”
The charge of interstate transportation of stolen property carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
The case against Caro was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Poonam G. Kumar of the Major Frauds Section.