Former Newsweek and Christian Media chiefs plead guilty to $ 35 million land project
Two former senior news media executives pleaded guilty to a scheme in which they fraudulently obtained $ 35 million in loans, then used the money to buy land in New York and California.
Etienne Uzac, who was co-owner of Newsweek Media Group and IBT Media; and William Anderson, the former CEO of Christian Media Corporation, have admitted charges of money laundering and fraud, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Authorities said the pair took out loans to buy expensive computer hardware, and then through a network of corporate bank accounts – and with help from their companies who were also billed – used most of the funds. to buy land.
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the real estate involved in the case.
Uzac and Anderson were not immediately available for comment. They will be sentenced on April 20.
The three companies that were named with the men: IBT Media, Christian Media Corp. and independent equipment supplier Oikos Networks, pleaded guilty this week to their participation in the scheme.
The DA’s investigation into the scheme became public in January 2018 when officials obtained a warrant to seize 18 servers from Newsweek Media Group offices in New York.
In October, Uzac tweeted a statement denying the allegations, claiming equipment lenders had been reimbursed and accusing Vance of retaliation for an article published by IBT about the prosecutor’s handling of sexual assault allegations against the film producer. disgraced Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is currently on trial in Manhattan, on charges brought by Vance’s office.
Lawyer Marc Agnifilo represents Uzac and in a statement provided to News week, he said, while his client “showed a lack of judgment in the way he obtained certain loans, today’s provision appropriately reflects the fact that these loans were reimbursed. Mr Uzac, who has never had any legal problems, is eager to get through this difficult chapter. “
Agnifilo did not respond to requests for comment.
Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]