Founder of Tax Advise Company Goes on Trial

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ The founder of a defunct tax advice company in Topeka goes on trial Monday on 148 federal counts of fraud and money laundering.

Michael Craig Cooper ran Renaissance, The Tax People, until 2001 when authorities deemed the business an illegal pyramid scheme and shut it down. The operation is alleged to have bilked investors out of tens of millions of dollars.

Officials say Renaissance acted as a marketing agency that claimed to help clients reduce their tax bills. They showed taxpayers how to claim deductions for home-based businesses, which usually involved selling the system.

One woman who joined Renaissance says she got out after six months because she got bad tax advise and "detected a cult vibe.''

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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