Hollywood Fund-Raiser Files For Chapter 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A charity fund-raiser known for organizing events for Hollywood stars is seeking bankruptcy protection from a list of creditors that includes former President Clinton, Paula Abdul and actress Roseanne Barr.

A lawyer for Aaron Tonken, 38, who will be sentenced Feb. 23 on federal fraud charges, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Tonken's debts were listed between $10 million and $50 million; assets were listed between $1 million and $10 million, bankruptcy attorney Philip Dapeer said.

The list of creditors also includes former President Ford, producer David E. Kelley and actress Camryn Manheim.

"It is a 'who's who' of Hollywood," Dapeer said Tuesday.

The filing did not outline the debt for each creditor. A lawyer for Abdul said she is owed $150,000.

Tonken pleaded guilty in December to bilking more than $1 million from wealthy donors who thought they were contributing to celebrity charities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Zwicker said Tonken would still be held responsible for restitution under his plea agreement. Tonken faces up to 10 years at sentencing.

He also is being sued in a civil case brought by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer for allegedly defrauding $1.5 million from several charities, including the Betty Ford Center and City of Hope. That case is pending in Superior Court.

"We have not had a chance to study the filings, but all we can say is that the attorney general intends to hold Mr. Tonken accountable … and make sure the charities that were defrauded are made whole," said attorney general's spokesman Tom Dresslar.

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