Warrant issued for 'Girls Gone Wild' founder

February 2, 2009 12:55:45 PM PST
A federal judge in California has issued an arrest warrant for "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis because he failed to appear at a hearing in his tax evasion case. U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said U.S. District Judge S. James Otero issued the warrant Monday in Los Angeles.

Francis did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. The hearing was to address his request to hire a new attorney.

Francis is accused of claiming more than $20 million in bogus business expenses on his corporate tax returns, including $3.8 million for a home in Mexico and $10.4 million in phony consulting services.

He has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled for March.

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