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Tax Shelter Promoter Arrested By US Marshals

August 29, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A tax shelter promoter, arrested as his plane from Belize landed in Miami, faces charges he defrauded the U.S. government of $40 million.

James G. Bryan, 54, was taken into custody Thursday by U.S. marshals at Miami International Airport. He was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing today in Miami.

Bryan’s arrest came a year and a half after his indictment in Portland, Ore., for mail fraud, conspiracy, failing to file tax returns and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman William Dempsey said Bryan was sought as a major fugitive by the Internal Revenue Service and tracked down in Belize through an ″investigatory effort″ by the Marshals Service.

A 51-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Portland in March 1985 charges that Bryan and his associates promoted illegal tax shelters, including participation in the Congregational Church of Human Morality, a non- traditional church. It says they participated in a commodity tax straddle program offered by Harvard Investment Management Corp. of Metairie, La. Both programs were offered to reduce or eliminate income taxes.

Bryan moved from Portland to Grand Cayman in the British West Indies in December 1980 and subsequently moved to Belize, where he was declared an undesirable and deported. He was arrested as he departed from a Taca Airline flight from Belize.

Bryan and his associates opened bank accounts for the tax shelter schemes in the Cayman Islands, prohibiting U.S. authorities from obtaining verification of financial transactions, authorities said.

Indicted along with Bryan were his office manager, Judith E. Thomason; and Lynford E. Evans, a Grand Cayman resident who was local representative of Bryan’s companies; and Marvin E. Helfrich, a Portland business consultant and former member of the Oregon state bar. Helfrich was legal counsel to the organization.

Helfrich pleaded innocent in April and is awaiting trial in Portland, according to IRS spokesman Steve Matthews in Portland. Ms. Thomason and Evans remain at large, he said.

The criminal penalties for the violations include fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and prison terms from one to five years for each count, together with the costs of prosecution.