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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Judge Freezes Defendants' Assets in Coliseum Bribery Case

The defendants' money will be kept as collateral in the event of a conviction.

The Los Angeles Memorial Colisem (Image courtesy of ATVN)
The Los Angeles Memorial Colisem (Image courtesy of ATVN)

A judge Wednesday refused to lift a freeze on the assets of Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami for their involvement in an alleged massive bribery and kickback scheme with the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg declined to lift the freeze despite Rotella’s and Gerami’s attorneys argument that the prosecution had failed to prove the defendants had embezzled money and the freeze was unfounded.

Schnegg did, however, agree to permit Rotella access up to $300,000 and Gerami access up to $60,000.

In cases of alleged embezzlement of more than $100,000, courts are permitted to freeze assets equal to three times the alleged loss as collateral for if the defendant is convicted and required to pay restitution, according to California Law.

Rotella, who is the founder of Insomiac Events, and Gerami, who is the owner of Go Ventures Inc, were both indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement last month. Rotella has been charged with four counts of embezzlement, and Gerami with seven counts.

Stefan Sacks, who is representing Gerami, said, “No money was taken from the Coliseum that would constitute a loss.”

Rotella and Gerami were both also charged one count of bribery, which Rotella’s attorney claims contradicts the freezing of assets on account of the Coliseum’s loss of money.

“No one has… ever had any of their assets frozen as a result of monies paid (to someone else),” said Gary Kaufman, who represents Rotella.

However Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman argued that the Coliseum did suffer a loss because of this alleged bribery because ex-events manager Todd DeStefano pocketed Rotella’s and Gerami’s money when it “should have been given to the Coliseum for the use of its facilities.

Prosecutors have valued Rotella’s assets at more than an estimated $1.7 million, and Gerami’s at $372,624.

Rotella and Gerami are due back in court for a pretrial hearing April 24.

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