TV producer indicted in stock fraud scheme

March 20, 2008 9:54:24 AM PDT
An Emmy Award-winning television producer was charged with inflating the revenue and stock price of his publicly traded production company as part of a multimillion dollar stock fraud scheme.

Drew Levin, 54, the founder of Team Communications Group, Inc., was indicted by a federal grand jury on 13 counts, including conspiracy, falsifying his company's books and records, making false statements in annual and quarterly reports and lying to the company's auditors, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Levin, who produces mostly made-for-TV programs and documentaries, faces up to 200 years in prison if convicted of all counts. He has not been arrested, and is expected to make his first court appearance Friday, prosecutors said.

There was no telephone listing for Levin's residence in the Pacific Palisades section. An after-hours call to the company, now called TMC Entertainment, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The company produces and distributes television programs and licensed its programs to other companies for distribution fees. Its shares were publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Prosecutors said Levin orchestrated a scheme to overstate Team Communications' annual and quarterly revenue to make the company appear profitable, when it was actually losing money. As a result, they said, customers ended up paying inflated distribution fees and Levin profited from the scheme.

Levin received a $335,000 bonus based on the company's reportedly profitable 1999 performance, and he pledged more than 500,000 shares as collateral for a loan to buy a $1.5 million ranch in Big Sky, Mont., prosecutors said.

In 2001, Team Communications restated its 1999 fiscal results, going from a $1.7 million profit to a $4.25 million loss, prosecutors said. The following year, the company reported a loss of more than $42 million and later filed for bankruptcy.

Levin's credits include "The Matthew Shepard Story" and "Total Recall 2070."