Zurik: State IG to investigate Horizon credits

Zurik: State IG to investigate Horizon credits

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The state's inspector general will investigate a film company at the center of a probe by FOX 8 Investigations of the state's film tax credits.

The IG's office confirms to FOX 8 that it has launched an investigation into Horizon Entertainment and its owner, Jason Sciavicco.

Since last week, we've detailed how Horizon has claimed almost $3 million in state film tax credits - credits insiders have questioned. We showed how Horizon got almost $1 million in tax credits for producing a reality TV show on the Saintsations, even though the show never aired. The total show budget for that was $5 million.

Horizon claimed a similar budget for producing "The Sean Payton Show." We uncovered pay stubs where Horizon paid an employee $1,300 a week, but claimed double that amount when applying for the tax credits.

The state inspector general says the reports raise some serious questions and the allegations need to be investigated.

Greg Phares, administrative program director at the IG's office, tells us officials have met with the Economic Development Department and will open an investigation of the allegations contained in those stories. Phares says investigators and auditors will gather evidence and evaluate whether anything violated criminal statute, either state or federal.

FOX 8's reporting on Horizon came as we examined the state's Motion Picture Investors Tax Credits, part of our "Easy Money" series on Louisiana's incentives programs. Louisiana has handed out as much as $250 million in one year in tax credits to film and TV projects produced in the state, primarily in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport areas.

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