Criminal Charges Dropped After Pair Pay $200,000

Criminal charges were dismissed Wednesday against the former operators of a small Westside movie theater chain after they paid more than $200,000 in restitution to 11 film distribution companies that they allegedly bilked by under-reporting box office receipts over a five-year period.

Sidney A. Kurstin, 67, and his son, Christopher, 34, each faced a maximum 10-year prison term after pleading no contest to nine counts of grand theft. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gordon Ringer set aside the Kurstins' pleas after they presented their victims with a cashier's check.

The Kurstins, who operated the Fairfax, Gordon and Brentwood theaters until 1985, were originally accused of underpaying distributors more than $500,000.

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