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Tax Fraud Conviction

Six people were recently found guilty in a federal court of being involved in a tax shelter scheme that assisted nearly 1500 people in making more than $120 million in false income tax deductions in the years 1997 through 2001. The trial was held in Seattle, Washington.

Officials in the Justice Department called the scheme by the firm of Anderson's Ark and Associates, which was based in Hoodsport, Washington, as one of the most complex tax shelter schemes ever prosecuted.

The six defendants acquired tens of millions of dollars by charging their clients $50,000 to $250,000 each to buy tax-shelter plans over the Internet. The schemes, which involved investmenting in shell companies, fake loans from banks in Costa Rica and other superficial transactions, make it appear that their clients had legitimate, tax-deductible business expenses.

After a trial lasting nearly seven weeks, all six of the defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the government, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns.

"This verdict is a real blow to promoters of shady offshore tax schemes," said a commisioner with the IRS.

Four other defendants also charged, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. However, the government is in the process of making a decision to re-file charges against them.