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Convicted filmmaker gets up to 3 years, told to repay state

Boston, MA., 05/10/12, Film director Dan Adams, center, is sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of the state's film tax credits. Section: Business. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Filmmaker Daniel Adams was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday. It is unclear how Adams, 51, will pay back the state $4.4 million in restitution.

Daniel Adams, the Cape Cod filmmaker convicted of fraud for illegally obtaining $4.7 million in state film tax credits, was sentenced Thursday to two to three years in state prison.

Following his release, Adams faces 10 years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $4.4 million in restitution to the state under the sentence imposed by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Carol Ball.

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Adams’s lawyer, James Greenberg, called the sentence fair, given that his client had no prior criminal history.

“He accepted responsibility from the outset and cooperated with the Department of Revenue and the attorney general,’’ Greenberg said.

But it is unclear how Adams, 51, will pay back the state. He was unable to post $100,000 bail after his arrest in December, and remained in jail until April, when he entered a guilty plea and Ball released him on $10,000 bail, with the condition that Adams wear a GPS bracelet.

Greenburg said Adams wants to eventually return to making movies so he can generate enough income to meet the restitution obligation.

Boston, MA., 05/10/12, Film director Dan Adams is sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of the state's film tax credits. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Prosecutors said filmmaker Daniel Adams (middle), deceived the state about his production expenses.

“The hope is he can continue working in the film industry, where he has the potential of making a lucrative salary,’’ he said.

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The Newton native directed “The Lightkeepers,’’ a 2009 romance starring Richard Dreyfuss, and 2008’s “The Golden Boys.’’

Both were low-budget films set on Cape Cod. Adams took advantage of a state incentive that allows filmmakers to apply for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of eligible production expenses. But prosecutors said Adams deceived the state about his costs, claiming, for instance, that he paid Dreyfuss $2.5 million, when the actor actually only received $400,000.

In a statement, Adams apologized to the court, the Commonwealth and the Revenue Department, his lawyer said.

Critics of film credits in Massachusetts and other states say such generous tax breaks are not justified. Proponents say film productions create jobs and boost the economy in communities where they take place.

The state awarded $276 million to 556 film projects, from 2006 through 2010,according to the Revenue Department.

Beth Healy can be reached at bhealy@globe.com.

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