Hollywood director and screenwriter John F. Milius experienced a real-life plot twist when longtime accountant and business manager Charles Riedy Jr. was arrested Monday on charges of embezzling $3 million from his former client.
Most of the allegedly embezzled funds were taken from trust funds set up for Milius’ children.
Riedy, 63, a certified public accountant, was charged with two counts of securities fraud.
According to the FBI, which investigated the case, Riedy, who began work for Milius in 1985, was given complete control of the screenwriter’s personal and corporate accounts. From 1990 through June 2001, when Milius severed business ties with Riedy, the accountant engaged in a scheme using fraudulent billing practices and fabricated purchases of collectible firearms. (Milius is a member of the board of directors of the National Rifle Assn.)
From 1998 through 2001, according to the FBI, Riedy drafted numerous checks, usually made payable to cash, from Milius’ account, and excessively billed Milius for his services while paying himself through several accounts belonging to Milius and Milius’ wife.
To replace the funds taken from Milius’ personal checking account, Riedy allegedly liquidated securities worth $1.9 million from a trust account for Milius’ children.
Milius, who has worked steadily in Hollywood for more than three decades, was writer and director of the Arnold Schwarzenegger starmaker “Conan the Barbarian,” as well as “Big Wednesday.” He was the writer of “Apocalypse Now” and “Clear and Present Danger” and wrote episodes of the TV show “Miami Vice.” He has three film projects set for release in the next two years.