A criminal probe was opened Monday into the operations of the Iowa Film Office, which has become one of the state’s largest business incentive programs, according to the Des Moines Register.
The investigation was announced after the release of an accountant’s review that showed existing tax credit contracts from the film office were changed — primarily to increase budgets — without notification of top officials at the Iowa Department of Economic Development. That department oversees the film office.
The report by the West Des Moines accounting firm Clifton Gunderson also found that signatures of top economic development officials were copied and moved from original contracts to revised ones; unidentified moviemakers claimed expenditures as high as $650,000 that were wrongly approved; and moviemakers claimed a litany of other questionable expenses.
The future of the now-suspended tax credit program remained unclear this week, as did the fate of 135 pending applications for film tax credits that are under review.