The Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud and other charges April 6 against producer Drew S. Levin and several former associates.
LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud and other charges April 6 against producer Drew S. Levin and several former associates.
Levin, a 25-year industry veteran whose credits range from "That's Incredible!" and "Totally Hidden Videos" to reality TV projects, is accused with regard to Team Communications Group Inc., a production company where he served as CEO.
Levin's attorney issued a statement calling the charges "without merit" and accused the SEC of delaying on filing these charges for more than four years.
"We will use this opportunity to pursue through the federal court the additional facts that will prove that Mr. Levin is absolutely blameless on all the claims the SEC asserts," defense attorney Peter Sheridan said. "The sales that the SEC bases its claims on are five- and six-year-old contracts entered into by Team's subsidiaries and were known to Team's auditors and counsel."
Also named in the civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles are Noel Cronin, former head of Team's U.K. subsidiary, and film distributor Michael Macchiarella, though SEC officials said they have agreed to settle their claims.
According to the complaint, the alleged fraud took place between 1999 and 2001, and involved two schemes. In one, the company improperly accounted for "circular" sales transactions between Team Communications and certain other companies. The second scheme allegedly involved nonbinding, "minimum guarantee" distribution contracts.
It is further alleged that the schemes led to misstatements and omissions in reports filed with the SEC and in public statements.
"Levin, Team's former chief executive officer and chairman of the board, was the architect of the scheme and personally oversaw and directed its execution," according to the SEC.
The SEC is seeking an injunction against Levin, as well as an order barring him from serving as an officer or director of a public company, and monetary damages.
Levin is chairman and CEO of TMC Entertainment, where he is in production on "Walking the Bible" and "Abraham," two miniseries based on the best-selling books by Bruce Feiler.