LOS ANGELES – On March 15, 2019, a former wall art reproduction company executive who embezzled $2.4 million through fraudulent licensing contracts was sentenced to 14 years and four months in state prison.
On August 27th, Adam Reed Zucker, 42, of Beverly Hills pleaded no contest to 35 felony counts, including grand theft by embezzlement, money laundering and filing a false income tax return, and he admitted a white-collar crime sentencing enhancement.
Between 2010 and 2015, Zucker was executive vice president for sports licensing at Artissimo Designs, LLC, an El Segundo company that created ready-to-hang wall art. In his position, he was responsible for securing licensing agreements with major collegiate athletic departments and professional sports teams for the use of their logos, fight songs, depictions of stadiums and other licensed products.
After the company was sold in liquidation to new owners in 2015, an audit discovered that Zucker had fabricated hundreds of licensing agreements and had caused the business to pay $2.4 million in fraudulent licensing fees to seven different shell companies that he controlled. The products for which Artissimo Designs was paying these fees were in the public domain and didn’t require a licensing agreement.
The defendant then transferred the money from the shell companies into his personal bank account.
The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, the El Segundo Police Department and the California Franchise Tax Board’s Criminal Investigation Bureau investigated the case.
“The Franchise Tax Board’s Criminal Investigation Bureau uncovers income tax crimes such as that committed by Adam Zucker,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Their work uncovering income tax fraud benefits the state of California by putting a stop to those who aren’t paying what they should be to support state services.”