A former Pleasanton resident pleaded not guilty in federal court in Oakland yesterday to charges of fraud and tax evasion in an alleged scheme to bilk investors in movie sound design projects.
Brice Carrington, 46, was charged with five counts of wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion in a criminal information document filed by federal prosecutors on Tuesday.
The charging document alleges Carrington falsely promised investors double or triple returns and falsely led them to believe he was a three-time Oscar-winning sound effects designer.
Carrington allegedly used fake Oscar statuettes and photographs of himself with the statuettes to help lure investors into placing their money with him, according to the information.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman Arlette Lee said Carrington entered the not-guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Wayne Brazil and was allowed by Brazil to remain free on an unsecured bond.
Carrington is due to return to court Sept. 4 for a status conference before U.S. District Judge Lowell Jensen in Oakland.
In the five wire fraud counts, Carrington is accused of fraudulently causing four investors to wire a total of $231,000 to a Bank of America account he controlled in San Ramon in 2004.
In the other four counts, he is accused of evading federal income taxes for the years 2002 through 2005.
Prosecutors are also seeking forfeiture of Lamborghini, Hummer and Mercedes vehicles Carrington allegedly bought with investors' funds without their knowledge.
The wire fraud counts each carry a maximum 20-year sentence and the tax evasion counts carry a five-year sentence upon conviction, but the actual penalty, if Carrington is convicted, would be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.