"Girls Gone Wild" Founder: "I'll Try to Stay Out of the Nightclubs"

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Joe Francis

    "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis pleaded guilty Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court to filing false tax returns and bribing Nevada jail workers in exchange for food.

    The plea agreement, which is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero, states Francis will pay $250,000 in restitution, $10,000 in fines and receive credit for the 301 days he spent in jail. He will also receive a year of supervised release, according to court papers.

    "Be on your best behavior," Otero told Francis, reminding him that the plea agreement was conditional upon the judge's approval.

    "I'll try to stay out of the nightclubs," Francis responded, referring to a recent series of late-night antics that have been discussed on various celebrity gossip Web sites.

    After questioning by Otero, Francis admitted he under-reported nearly $563,000 on his corporate tax returns.

    The adult-video entrepreneur also acknowledged giving more than $5,000 in goods to a pair of Washoe County, Nev., jail workers in exchange for food while he was being held there from June 2007 to March 2008.

    The guilty pleas came just weeks before Francis' much-delayed trial was set to begin.

    The 36-year-old USC graduate pleaded not guilty last summer to charges of unlawfully deducting more than $20 million in bogus business expenses on his 2002 and 2003 returns. If the case had gone to trial, Francis faced amaximum of 10 years in federal prison.

    Otero set sentencing for Nov. 16.

    Francis is also being sued in state court by an interior designer who alleges he was threatened by the "Girls Gone Wild" founder for agreeing to cooperate in the federal tax evasion probe.