Former Epix executive arrested for $8 million fraud at network

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former chief digital officer of the Epix cable television network was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he defrauded it of more than $8 million.

Emil Rensing, 42, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his residence in Manhattan and charged in a criminal complaint with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, authorities said.

He was released on a $500,000 bond following a court hearing later in the day. His lawyer, Henry Mazurek, in a statement said Rensing disputed the allegations and “did not steal any money or identities from anyone.”

“He has provided valuable products and services to Epix, all of which the company enjoys and profits from today,” Mazurek said.

Epix, a joint venture between Viacom Inc, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc [MGMYR.UL], was not identified by name in the charging documents, but the company confirmed it was the alleged victim.

In a statement, Epix said it is cooperating with the investigation.

The complaint alleged that while working at Epix from April 2010 to August 2015, Rensing caused it to contract with vendor companies he owned to perform digital media services.

Those services were largely never performed and while the contracts listed several of Rensing’s former professional associates and business partners as vendor personnel, they had never heard of the vendors, the complaint said.

Rensing hid the scheme by using false and stolen identities to conceal his involvement, the complaint said.

After Epix learned about the scheme, Rensing was questioned by attorneys for the network and made numerous false statements, including denying that he had any interest in one of the vendors at issue, the complaint said.

Epix in its statement said it fired Rensing in August, the same month its lawyers questioned him.

The case is U.S. v. Rensing, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-mj-2650.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrew Hay