Six leaders of Anderson's Ark and Associates, a company that made millions purportedly teaching people how to duck taxes by setting up offshore accounts, were convicted of tax...

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Six leaders of Anderson’s Ark and Associates, a company that made millions purportedly teaching people how to duck taxes by setting up offshore accounts, were convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy in federal court in Seattle yesterday.

The jury in the seven-week trial, however, was unable to reach a verdict on charges against four accountants who had been accused of preparing and filing false tax returns.

Federal prosecutors have not decided whether they will retry the four accountants, said Corey J. Smith, assistant chief prosecutor of the Justice Department Tax Division.

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Keith Anderson, of Hoodsport, Mason County; his brother Wayne Anderson, of Fresno, Calif.; Richard Marks, of Los Osos, Calif.; James and Pamela Moran, of Montrose, Colo.; and Karolyn Grosnickle, formerly of Hoodsport, were convicted of more than 80 charges.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud the government, mail fraud, money laundering, and aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.

The Anderson brothers also were convicted of international money laundering.

The case began in 1999 when an Internet tip launched an Internal Revenue Service investigation.

The Justice Department joined the investigation in 2001.

Federal prosecutors say the defendants netted millions from a variety of schemes that included the sale of fraudulent tax-shelter plans called Look Back and Look Forward, which they advertised over the Internet.

The defendants also helped clients take about $120 million in false income-tax deductions.

The federal indictment says that between 1997 and 2001, the company’s clients were charged thousands of dollars to invest in “Tax Magic,” a program that would assist taxpayers in financial planning though the marketing of a book and tape series.

In addition to flat fees of $2,000 and $16,500, investors were required to pay 5 percent to 7 percent of an investment loan they were told to take from a Costa Rican bank.

According to the indictment, investors were told these loans would be invested with Mason Advertising, which would market and sell “Tax Magic.”

The indictment alleges that La Maquina Blanca and Mason Advertising were really shell companies owned by Anderson’s Ark and Associates and that defendants simply retained the “fees” the investors paid.

At trial, the government called about 50 witnesses and introduced more than 2,000 exhibits to prove that the defendants acted together to market and promote the company’s various tax shelters throughout the country.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years for the conspiracy convictions and three years for the 53 counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.

Keith and Wayne Anderson each face a maximum sentence of 20 years on the international money-laundering convictions.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com