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Agent Stuart Manashil Pleads Guilty to Defrauding CAA

Stuart Manashil, a former literary agent at WME, is awaiting sentencing in New York federal court on a charge of defrauding CAA while he was an agent there from 2011 through 2014.

Manashil, 43, pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud on March 30. He left CAA for WME in 2014, and left WME in 2017 to become a manager.

“During the time period stated in the information, I agreed with others in California to knowingly divert funds to them that were rightfully due to my employer,” Manashil told Judge Barbara Moses. “In furtherance of this activity, fraudulent representations and documents were utilized, as well as emails among myself and other participants.”

Manashil’s management clients include Fede Alvarez, director of the forthcoming “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”; actor James Van Der Beek; director Olivier Assayas; and Brad Furman, director of the Johnny Depp film “City of Lies,” on which Manashil is credited as a producer. When he was at CAA, he worked with Oliver Stone, Edward Zwick, Tommy Lee Jones, and Lawrence Kasdan.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Manashil’s attorney, Richard Rosenberg, told Variety on Friday that his client was accused of diverting a fee of “no more than $25,000” that should have gone to CAA.

According to the plea, Manashil has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors who are investigating fraud in film financing. Rosenberg declined to comment on that, but he did say that Manashil was associated with Steven Brown, who was one of three defendants arrested in 2016 on charges of defrauding movie investors out of $12 million. Another defendant in that case, James David Williams, pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced in late October.

Rosenberg said that Manashil was looking to put the case behind him.

“He is a highly respected person in the industry, and deservedly so,” Rosenberg said.

Manashil was a Fulbright scholar. He graduated summa cum laude from UCLA, and got a master’s degree in comparative literature before going to work in the mailroom at ICM. He quickly moved to UTA before jumping to CAA and then to WME. He was named one of the Next Generation Class of 2006 by the Hollywood Reporter.

Wire fraud carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars, but Rosenberg said he hoped Manashil would not face jail time.

WME declined to comment. CAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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