A judge in the Florida Panhandle has returned a business jet leased by the producer of "Girls Gone Wild" but is letting the sheriff keep the keys to Joe Francis' Ferrari, at least for now.
Francis, 30, of Las Vegas, faces 22 criminal charges, including racketeering and promoting the sexual performance of children after being arrested in Panama City during spring break. Three crew members also face various criminal charges.
Judge Dedee Costello released the 12-seat Grumman jet after a hearing. Bay County sheriff's deputies seized both the jet and the Ferrari on April 2, claiming they were used to transport people and equipment for videos featuring underage girls.
Lawyers had argued that no crimes were alleged to have been committed in the jet or the car.
Francis and his production company, Mantra Films Inc., may also find themselves facing civil actions from angry consumers and federal and state agencies. There have been hundreds of complaints filed with consumer Web sites and regulators about the company's sales practices.
Most of the complaints are similar to one from David of Damascus, MD: "I ordered 2 videos from GGW. I received those videos. They continued to send me other videos which I did not ask them to send. They have charged these videos to my bank account without my knowledge."
Consumers who order a single tape for $9.95 from an infomercial or the Internet soon find that they are receiving a tape each month for $24.98. The subscription arrangement is disclosed in fine print on the company's Web site but consumer advocates say the company's practices are deceptive.