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Dutsons flee state, found in Arizona

Couple to be returned to Oregon

The couple who ran a tax-evasion scheme for years out of their Tigard office have been arrested after fleeing the state.

Tony Dutson, 53, and Micaela Dutson 48, were sentenced to 10 years in prison in June 2010 after they ran a multimillion-dollar tax evasion scheme out of Micaela Dutson's Tigard law office, but when it came time to turn themselves over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons the couple disappeared.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown said that Dustons' crimes were "the epitome of disrespect of the law" but allowed the couple to live at a relative's house in Eastern Oregon before being sent to prison.

The two were ordered to turn themselves in on May 23, but when the couple didn't show up, the U.S. Marshals Service began a nationwide search.

Prosecutors say the two cut off their electronic monitoring bracelets and fled to Arizona.

Investigators found the two in Phoenix, Ariz., where they were arrested June 10.

The couple face an additional 10 years in prison and a $250,000 for failing to show up at prison.

Troubles began in 2008

The Dutsons used elaborate schemes to hide their assets and avoid paying about $7 million in taxes over 10 years.

Investigators began looking into the Dutsons in 2008 after the IRS discovered that many of Dutson's clients were being audited for failing to file tax returns, despite a prior history of paying their taxes.

During their trial, nine of Dutson's former clients testified that they followed the Dutson's advice, to their detriment.

The Dutsons sold clients on the belief that they could deposit in-come and assets into an elaborate system of 'trust' accounts - which were wrapped in secrecy requirements. The intent of those trust accounts was to shield their clients from paying federal taxes.

In an attempt to deceive the IRS, the Dutsons set up bank accounts and dummy corporations making it difficult to trace the clients' income and assets. The Dutsons continued to sell the trust packages for years, ignoring several warnings from the IRS.

After the Dutson's 150 clients were told that the trusts were shams, the Dutsons harassed and intimidated the IRS employees investigating them, telling their clients to use the trusts to pay off the Dustons' commercial debts, including mortgages and court-ordered obligations.

Together the Dutson and their clients presented more then $44 million worth of bogus financial instruments. The couple also told clients to file frivolous lawsuits against IRS employees.

Meanwhile, the Dutsons charged their clients $3,500 to help the clients file the lawsuits.

Then, when the Department of Justice filed for a permanent injunction to shut the business down, the Dutsons filed a $1 trillion lien against IRS employees who had attempted to audit or investigate them, as well as Department of Justice attorneys who filed for the injunction.

When the lien was ruled to be without legal basis, the Dutsons prepared a smaller lien for a client against then Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, for $108 million.

The Dutsons also filed about 30 bogus tax returns, in an attempt to claim more than $185 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS.