Mar 15, 2012

"Saddle Up" host convicted of fraudulent practices, acquitted of two other charges

Dennis Brouse, host of the pubTV show Saddle Up with Dennis Brouse, was convicted of fraudulent practices in Polk County, Iowa, on Thursday (March 15), in connection with a state filmmaking tax-incentive program, according to the Des Moines Register. Brouse, who had been charged in January, also was acquitted on charges of theft and ongoing criminal conduct.

Brouse's Changing Horses Productions had been awarded $9.27 million in tax credits for five projects, but a state audit last year reportedly found discrepancies including $2.18 million in expenditures claimed by Changing Horses paid to companies outside Iowa, which wasn't allowed, and $1 million in expenses not supported by documentation.

Nine individuals were charged in connection with the tax-credit program; Brouse is the seventh convicted. The tax incentives were suspended in September 2009 after state officials discovered several filmmakers were exploiting what the newspaper termed the program's "liberal rules and lax oversight" to qualify for millions of dollars in tax credits. The paper said Brouse "parlayed Iowa film tax credits into new cars, a ranch and millions in profits."

The newspaper reported the scandal also led to the firings of six persons in the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

In October 2009, before he had been charged, Brouse addressed the reported abuses of the tax credit program in a statement on his website.

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