Former Axium CEO John Visconti Arrested for Alleged Tax Conspiracy (Updated)

Ex-entertainment industry payroll executive faces 13 years in federal prison

John Visconti, former chairman and CEO of the entertainment-industry payroll service Axium, was arrested Monday on federal tax charges after being indicted for conspiracy, tax evasion and subscription to false tax return, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in California.

The indictment, obtained by TheWrap, alleges that Visconti and a co-conspirator — identified as the chief operating officer of Axium — diverted millions of dollars from the company and hid the cash from the IRS. The L.A. Times subsequently identified the COO as Ronald Garber.

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According to the indictment, the alleged conspiracy began “at least as early as in or about 2005,” continuing “through at least in or about October 2008.”

The indictment lists numerous alleged incidents of Visconti and his alleged co-conspirator misdirecting money, including diverting tax refunds payable to Axium and its subsidiaries into accounts controlled by Visconti and his alleged co-conspirator.

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The indictment also accuses Visconti, 71, and his co-conspirator of funneling money from Axium into entities controlled by them. One of many instances listed in the indictment includes “payments totaling at least $570,000” into California Constriction, which was supposed to provide services to Axium. However, the indictment alleges, the cash was transferred to accounts controlled by Visconti and his co-conspirator, the indictment said.

Visconti is also accused of willfully attempting “to evade and defeat a substantial part of the federal income tax due and owing by him” for 2007, understating his income for the year “by at least $691,000.”

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Visconti, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, faces a maximum of 13 years in federal prison if convicted. He was freed on a $100,000 bond during a hearing on Monday, but is subject to electronic monitoring during his pre-trial release. His trial is scheduled for July 29.

Axium filed of liquidation bankruptcy in 2008.

Pamela Chelin contrinbuted to this report.