In the eight-page document, Ellefsen's attorney notes that Mark Ellefsen "did not participate" in the tax avoidance scheme that has him and his brother Brian, a Carthage physician, facing a June 2 sentencing after being found guilty of fraud and filing false tax returns.
M. Ellefsen's participation in the scheme was outlined in the documents:
The Aegis Trust System was started in Chicago, Illinois, by Edward Bartoldi, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and Michael Vallone. The Internal Revenue Service began its nine-year investigation of Aegis in June 1996. Undercover agents, such as Michael Priest, were fully involved with Aegis by 1998, even attending offshore seminars. At one point, the Aegis system was presented to the Pennsylvania and Ohio Bar Associations during CLE’s.
At another, the system was presented at insurance seminars as a legitimate way to decrease taxes and increase the ability of one to make charitable contributions. In hindsight, one wonders how such things could happen, but they did. And when they did, these events were used to affirm and reaffirm the legitimacy of the Aegis Trust System to its clients nationwide. Fancy offices and limousines and inches thick manuals packed with faux legalities were all deployed against Aegis’ own customers to convince them they were doing something that was perfectly legal, something that the nation’s elite families did all the time. When a question was raised by a client, Aegis made certain that the advice they received was all “in house.” A cease and desist order was never sought to prevent Aegis from doing business.
At its height, Aegis had over six hundred clients. Only a handful of clients were prosecuted; the rest were settled civilly.
Brian Ellefsen became a client of Aegis after he was solicited by a so-called “tax and trust expert,” Jim Quay, who was the brother of an Emergency Room doctor working at McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage, Missouri. The initial sales pitch was asset protection from malpractice and divorce, along with substantial tax avoidance. As office manager, Mark Ellefsen was asked by his brother to look into the Aegis program.
Mark Ellefsen did not personally participate in Aegis program and there has never been a question as to the accuracy of Mark Ellefsen’s personal returns. With regards to his personal returns, Mark has always been an honest taxpayer. Mark Ellefsen was paid a straight salary as office manager and received no economic benefit from his brother’s participation in the Aegis scheme. Mark Ellefsen erroneously believed that he was not personally responsible for the way his brother chose to handle his income taxes.
Apart from his involvement in this incident, Mark Ellefsen has always been a law-abiding citizen. From August 1994 until March 1995 he served as a police officer with the St. Louis County Police Department. Mark enlisted in the United States Army in 1988. Since that time he has provided exceptional service and was commissioned in 1991. Records from the U.S. Army National Guard confirm his exceptional service and he has numerous positive evaluations. Mark has been described as a highly-disciplined soldier.
Later in the filing, M. Ellefsen's lawyer make the argument for a lighter sentence:
It is submitted that a sentence of home incarceration combined with community service would be sufficient to reflect the seriousness of the offense, protect the public from future crimes, promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment. A sentence of home incarceration and community service is still very serious and would provide deterrence to others who would consider engaging in such conduct. Mark Ellefsen certainly understands the seriousness of his offense. He has learned a tremendous amount from the experience and has vowed to never be involved with this type of activity
Mark Ellefsen has not committed an act of violence and the public should not require any protection from any possible future crime.
The document also noted that a lighter sentence would enable M. Ellefsen to be able to make restitution to victims of the crime.