A California film producer who is already in federal prison has pled guilty to fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery in connection with the Iowa Film Office scandal. Fifty-year-old Harel Goldstein admitted to using the alias “Harel Gold” to sign contracts for the film “Underground” that he was producing in Newton.
He admitted using the alias to hide the fact that he already had pled guilty to federal bank fraud for forgeries in relation to film financing. During his guilty plea, Goldstein stated that former Iowa Film Office Manager Tom Wheeler was aware of his true name and history, but Goldstein stated that Wheeler allowed him to sign contracts as “Harel Gold.”
During filming, Goldstein created false invoices from individuals who did not actually work on the film, then used them to support false expense claims for tax credits. Goldstrein pled guilty to all three counts as charged without a plea deal. A Polk County District Court judge agreed with recommendations from both parties and sentenced Goldstein to three suspended sentences, including two years of probation, and a $2,500 fine.
Goldstein was also ordered to pay the cost of transporting him to Iowa and back to California. It’s believed his federal sentence will be extended by one year.
The Iowa Attorney General’s office says there are two criminal cases remaining in the Film Office scandal:
Sixty-one-year-old Dennis Brouse, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, owner of Changing Horses Productions, is charged with ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft, and fraudulent practice in the first degree. Brouse, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on March 5, 2012 in Polk County District Court.
Thirty-eight-year-old Chad Witter, of Bettendorf, a tax credit broker, is charged with ongoing criminal conduct, two counts of first-degree theft, and two counts of fraudulent practice in the first degree. Witter, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on April 16, 2012 in Polk County District Court.