(Reuters) - A federal grand jury has returned a 14-count indictment accusing a Lions Gate employee and another man of cheating the film and television studio of $2 million through kickbacks and fake advertising over five years.
Roccio James Cuccia, a senior buyer for Lions Gate Entertainment Inc, and Larry Collins, a vendor, were indicted Thursday and then arrested Friday by federal agents on charges of wire fraud and tax evasion.
Cuccia was hired as a senior buyer in 2006 in charge of securing cardboard advertising cases that display Lions Gate DVDs and Blue Ray disks at retail stores and hired Collins to supply the displays, the indictment said.
The indictment accuses Cuccia of bypassing supervisors to inflate the size of the orders from Collins who then issued fake purchase orders to secure payments from Lions Gate.
Lions Gate then paid the inflated orders to a third party, which wired a substantial portion to Collins, who then kicked back a portion to Cuccia's bank account, the indictment said.
Ten counts in the indictment cover wire transfers to Collins totaling about $746,000 from October 2009 to December 2010.
Cuccia is accused in the indictment of using money from the scheme to buy a used 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid in late 2009 and a used Mercedes Benz R350 in September 2010.
Cuccia and Collins were granted bond after an initial appearance before a federal magistrate on Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Tim Gaynor)