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'Girls Gone Wild' Company Appeals Fine, Community Service Sentence

The company that produces the "Girls Gone Wild" videos of young women partying has appealed a $1.6 million fine for filming underaged girls and a federal judge's order for its founder and three top officers to perform community service.

Traveling from the company's California corporate headquarters to Florida is an unfair personal burden on the corporate officers, who were not named as defendants in the case against Mantra Films Inc., the appeal said.

The fine was levied against the company for filming drunken 17-year-old girls during spring break in 2003.

Aaron Dyer, the company's Los Angeles-based attorney, did not return a phone message left by The Associated Press.

A judge ruled earlier this month that Joe Francis, the video empire's multimillionaire founder, must serve eight hours of community service for the next 30 months because his company used underaged girls in its Panama City Beach videos. The judge said it did not appear a fine would be a meaningful punishment to the 33-year-old Francis, who makes an estimated $40 million a year.

At a Dec. 13 sentencing hearing, the company agreed to the fine and a five-year probation agreement for federal violations, including failing to properly label its DVDs and videos.

The judge also ordered the founder's three top aides — Arthur Greenfield, Jeff Ginsberg and Scott Barbour — to complete eight hours of community service monthly for the next 30 months. But the judge gave Francis the option of serving 16 hours a month of community service himself, voiding his officers' obligations to do the service.

Also pending against Francis are state felony charges in which he is accused of using children in sexual performances, but most of the charges have been dropped by prosecutors due to a lack of evidence in the case that is set for trial next year.

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