The lawyers for Brian Ellefsen, a doctor, and Mark Ellefsen, a CPA, had requested the extra time, indicating that this is a complex case. The government said the case was only moderately complex and added this explanation:
While the government does not oppose the defendants’ motions, undersigned counsel notes that this case is only moderately complex. The government mailed discovery to
the defense on June 28, 2007, consisting of four (4) compact disks containing a total of 27,590 document pages – all evidence on this case currently in the government’s possession. Of those 27,590 document pages, 8,954 originally were provided to the government by Defendant Brian Ellefsen, in response to grand jury subpoenas. Therefore, the defendants will have 18,636 document pages of "new" evidence to review. The document pages on the disks provided to the defense are individually bates-numbered, and organized according to the sources of the
documents. The bates numbers each contain an alphabetical prefix, corresponding to the source,and the bates numbering key was also provided to the defense. This should assist the defense in accomplishing review of the evidence well in advance of the proposed scheduling order date.
The Ellefsens were indicted in April for tax fraud. Their arrests were part of an ongoing federal investigation of the Aegis Company of Palos Hills, Ill. Aegis officials were indicted in April 2004 and charged with defrauding the U. S. Government of more than $68 million.
In a May 30 court filing, the Ellefsens' attorney noted the indictment "is linked to a nationwide Internal Revenue Service/U. S. Department of Justice project aimed both civilly and criminally at the Aegis Business Trust System, the Aegis Company, its promoters, attorneys, accountants and purchasers/investors."
The scope of the investigation was noted in the Department of Justice news release from April 2004:
Six of the defendants allegedly participated in a nearly decade-long conspiracy to market and sell sham domestic and foreign trusts through The Aegis Company, based in suburban Palos Hills, to some 650 wealthy taxpayer clients throughout the United States to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in income, resulting in a tax loss to the United States of at least $68 million, making the case one of the largest of its kind. Following a lengthy undercover investigation by IRS agents, code-named "Operation Trust Me" and the seizure of roughly 1.5 million documents, computer files and related materials, a federal grand jury in Chicago today returned a 51-count indictment against six of the defendants.
The federal indictment said Brian Ellefsen used diverted funds to "pay for cash withdrawals and charges made on the offshore credit card, payments for (his) personal expenses, payments on loans owned by (him), expenditures for the construction of (his) family home, and expenditures for the purchase of another residence located on Table Rock Lake, Missouri."
The Ellefsens misled the accounting firm preparing their income tax returns, according to the indictments, causing false income tax returns to be filed.