Accountant accused of funding films with stolen money

Prosecutors in the fraud trial of Denis I. Shusterman have claimed the tax
accountant embezzled $10m (£5.6m) from a client, and use the money to fund three
horror movies.

Prosecutors told the Philadelphian courtroom that Shusterman, 45 from
Carlsbad, California, allegedly stole the money from a New York firearms company
between 1996 and 2004.

He used most of the money – $5.7m (£3.1m) – to invest in three movies as well
as pay for his daughter’s $74,000 (£41,000) Bat Mitzvah and a $20,000 (£11,000)
four-day trip to London.

The three horror movies he funded were Killer Instinct (with Corbin Bernsen
and Dee Wallace-Stone), The Sculptress (starring Lawnmower Man’s Jeff Fahey),
and Heart of Stone.

The Guardian reported that a witness testified that Shusterman was
totally in love with the movies and wanted them to be part of his lifestyle.

Leslie Edelman, who owned Kimber Mfg, the New York company that lost the $10m
and which hired Shusterman as CFO in 1996 on a consulting basis, said he was
paid an annual salary of $125,000 (£70,000).

He alleged that Shusterman used the company as a personal bank account.

The films were all flops.

Related reading