This week William C. Anderson, the former publisher of The Christian Post and CEO of the Christian Media Corporation, and Etienne Uzac, the CEO of IBT Media and former owner of Newsweek, were arraigned this week for fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and falsifying business documents.
According to Christianity Today, investigators are calling Anderson’s and Uzac’s actions “a scheme to obtain millions in loans through false pretenses.”
The pair were brought up on these charges after the completion of an extensive investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The indictment alleges that the former company heads and their companies Christian Media Corporation (CMC) and IBT Media/Newsweek, falsified financial audits in order to obtain $10 million in loans which was then used to pay for day to day operations, rather than what the lenders were informed it would be used on, high-performance equipment.
The D.A.’s report states that “The defendants then transferred the funds through multiple corporate accounts to mask their origin, and to disguise the fact that the funds weren’t being used to purchase equipment. The majority of the money was used to fund day-to-day operations and for purposes unrelated to the stated purpose of the financing.”
Both executives have pleaded not guilty to the charges, vehemently denying the claims. The executives also noted that the lenders involved in this case have all been paid back in full.
“The notion that my client intended to deceive anyone, much less engage in a money laundering conspiracy, is absurd,” Andy Lankler, Anderson’s lawyer, told The Wall Street Journal. “We will vigorously defend these charges.”
Chief of staff for The Christian Post Michelle Vu, told Christianity Today that “There are no charges against The Christian Post (CP), no allegations of any wrongdoing by CP.”
She continued, noting that the Christian news media outlet will “continue its work as usual, focusing on bringing fair, accurate and relevant news to its readers.”
According to the D.A.’s report, Anderson, who was the publisher for The Christian Post until this summer, faces ten possible felony charges, including second degree contempt for failing to submit subpoenaed documents to investigators.
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