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Johnny Depp Sues Business Managers For $25M Over Fraud

Deadline logo Deadline 1/14/2017 Dominic Patten
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Like many an actor before him, Johnny Depp believes he has been swindled in the Hollywood accounting shell game — by his own business managers and lawyers. In a lawsuit filed today, the Pirates Of The Caribbean star is going after The Management Group for more than $25 million in a jury-seeking suit alleging fraud and several other claims.

“As a result of years of gross mismanagement and sometimes outright fraud, Mr. Depp lost tens of millions of dollars and has been forced to dispose of significant assets to pay for TMG’s self-dealing and gross misconduct,” reads the 52-page complaint (read it here) filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the actor and fellow Plaintiff Edward L. White as trustees of the Mooh Investment Trust.

The lawsuit alleges 11 complaints ranging from fraud to breach of contract to professional negligence. It claims TMG paid itself more than $28 million in contingency fees without a written agreement; failed to file or pay his taxes on time, resulting in more than $5.6 million in fees and penalties on his federal returns; and “loaning” nearly $10 million to third parties without Depp’s authorization or proper documentation.

“In essence, TMG treated Mr. Depp’s income as their own, available to either TMG or third parties to draw upon as desired,” read the complaint filed by attorneys at Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLC.

“TMG’s gross mismanagement and fraud remained undetected as TMG borrowed millions of dollars to survive from movie-to-movie,” add the filing.

“It was only recently, when Mr. Depp terminated TMG and hired new business management and accounting services, when Mr. Depp learned the gravity of his financial losses and some, but surely not all, of the underlying facts,” the complain states bluntly, also adding that the management firm is seeking foreclosure on Depp’s primary home through a loan the actor says came from TMG’s own self-dealing.

In addition to the more than $25 million sought in compensatory damages, the suit asks for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from proceeding with the foreclosure on the home.

Depp, recently in the courts for his high-profile divorce from Amber Heard last summer, is plenty busy. He recently shot Open Road’s cop drama LAbyrinth, joined 20th Century Fox’s Murder On The Orient Express, and will co-star in Warner Bros’ follow-up to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Of course, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales bows worldwide May 26.

He also in the fall signed with CAA after a three-decade run at UTA.

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