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Former Pleasanton man pleads guilty to fraud

Accused of defrauding investors out of more than $4 million

A former Pleasanton man who falsely claimed that he was a three-time Oscar-winning sound designer has pleaded guilty to charges that he defrauded investors out of more than $4 million.

Brice Carrington, 46, who now lives in Ojai, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Oakland Friday to wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with the investment fraud scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello and Internal Revenue Service Special Agent in Charge Scott O'Briant.

The plea agreement calls for Carrington to serve four years in federal prison and pay nearly $4.2 million in restitution when he is sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen on Jan. 8.

In pleading guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, Carrington admitted that lured investors by telling them that he was well-established in the entertainment industry and had been involved in many Hollywood productions.

To add credibility to his claims, Carrington paid a jeweler to make an Oscar statuette and also had another fake statuette, according to prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Carrington displayed the fake Oscar statuettes and photographs of himself with the statuettes in his home during investor fundraising parties

In addition, Carrington used investors' money without their knowledge to buy three luxury cars -- a Lamborghini Murcielago, a Hummer H2 and a Mercedes SL 500R - and used them as props to help lure new investors into investing money with him, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Carrington received about $4,042,480 from investors but used no more than $430,000 of those funds toward designing sound effects.

Carrington also admitted that he failed to report $581,500 in gross receipts on his 2003 tax return and instead filed a false Form 1040 reporting zero taxes owed, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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