Wal-Mart, Bank of America bought film tax credits

State cannot recover the $4.7 million in lost tax revenue

State investigators today charged that a Cape Cod filmmaker fraudulently obtained $4.7 million in film tax credits over several years and then sold those credits to Wal-Mart and Bank of America, which used them to reduce the taxes they owe in Massachusetts.

Officials said the two companies had no knowledge of the alleged scheme by Daniel Adams to inflate expenses and forge documents so he would qualify for more tax credits. Adams pleaded not guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to 10 separate counts in connection with the alleged scheme. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail and, if he makes bail, ordered to wear a tracking device.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Assistant Attorney General Margaret Parks said the state cannot recover the $4.7 million in lost tax revenue from Wal-Mart and Bank of America because Adams’s expenses had been certified as accurate by an independent accountant, whose name has not been disclosed. The state’s film tax credit law awards to filmmakers tax credits equal to 25 percent of whatever they spend in Massachusetts; the tax credits can be sold back to the state or to a third party.

Adams shot two films in Massachusetts, The Lightkeepers starring Richard Dreyfuss in 2009 and The Golden Boys in 2008.

The Adams indictment indicates the filmmaker’s scheme began to unravel when Revenue Department officials held up tax credits tied to the 2009 film when they noticed income withholding taxes on several actor salaries had not been paid to the state. State officials say Adams paid the taxes and then allegedly forged tax returns for three of the actors – Blythe Danner, Mary Willa Gummer, and Thomas Wisdom – seeking refunds. The refund requests asked that the money be sent to the same address, which prompted further investigation.