Ore. entrepreneur pleads not guilty in tax case

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Hood River businessman who made millions by selling nutritional supplements and exercise equipment has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he filed false tax returns.

Jim Cole is the 66-year-old founder of Maxam Laboratories and TurboSonic USA, companies that appealed to customers looking to improve an array of physical maladies, from autism and Alzheimer’s to varicose veins and vertigo.

Government agents started an investigation of Cole’s businesses in 2010, eventually seizing computers, 220 boxes of papers, files and records, along with inventory and assets that Cole values at more than $1 million.

Court papers filed by federal prosecutors describe those assets as the ill-gotten gains of mail fraud. They accuse Cole of misrepresenting his products as curatives for diseases and ailments.

Cole told The Oregonian after Friday’s arraignment that he looks forward to proving his innocence.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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