Local reality TV CEO will plead guilty to fraud scheme


LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The CEO of two Hollywood production companies that specialize in reality television programming has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud for obtaining a $2 million business loan using fabricated documents and by misrepresenting his companies’ financial circumstances, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday.

Jonathan Lee Smith, 40, of West Hollywood, faces a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith managed and owned two production companies, Hoplite Entertainment Inc. and Hoplite Inc. To convince a private lender to fund a $2 million loan last year, Smith falsely represented that his two companies had accounts receivable of $3,348,000, and he submitted falsified license agreements and other forgeries to back up the claim, according to the plea agreement.

To convince the private lender to give him additional time to repay the loan, Smith falsely represented that payment was imminent and he also emailed a fake record showing a $100,000 wire payment from Hoplite Inc. to the lender, according to the plea agreement.

In reality, the loan was never repaid, and Smith has agreed to pay $2 million in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith is expected to make his initial appearance in Los Angeles federal court on July 6.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-06-08-2021 16:07

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