Judge says performer must return $2 million to United States

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Former Las Vegas performer Bobby Berosini and his wife have been ordered to return $2 million to the United States in an ongoing lawsuit with an animal rights organization.

U.S. Magistrate Lawrence Leavitt issued the order in a lawsuit brought by the former executive director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA's Jeanne Roush claims the money was moved out of the U.S. in an effort to avoid paying legal costs in a suit she won against the Berosinis.

''This court finds inherently incredible defendants' claim that for the ostensible purpose of investing in a 'land project' in Central and South America they transferred more than $2 million to Inversionista Cataluna, a Panamanian company about which defendants claim to know very little,'' the judge wrote.

He ordered that the Berosinis return the money to the U.S. by March 13.

In Roush's complaint, she accused the couple of engaging in a pattern of fraudulent transactions to conceal their assets and avoid paying court-ordered costs to her and the animal rights group.

The defendants denied the allegations.

Leavitt wrote that when the court or the plaintiff sought information on the $2 million investment, ''they collide with the proverbial brick wall.''

''Defendants throw up their hands in mock frustration as if to say there's nothing they can do about it,'' Leavitt wrote.

Bobby Berosini's show, starring performing orangutans, played at the Stardust through the late 1980s.

PETA faced a $3.1 million defamation judgment in 1990 after Berosini alleged members doctored and distributed a videotape of him striking one of the animals backstage.

The Nevada Supreme Court reversed the decision and District Court Judge Nancy Becker awarded legal fees to PETA in 1996. The state's high court later ruled that the Berosinis must pay PETA about $200,000 in trial costs, plus interest.


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