(DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge today sentenced Nebraska film and video producer Dennis Brouse to ten years in prison for his role in the Iowa Film Office tax credit fraud case.
Brouse, 61, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, produced and starred in the public television and DVD series “Saddle Up with Dennis Brouse,” a program that featured Brouse training difficult horses. Brouse, owner of “Changing Horse Productions,” applied for Iowa tax credits through the state’s film tax credit program, and Attorney General Tom Miller alleged Brouse made false statements in his application.
From March of 2008 through September of 2009, Changing Horses applied for and received expenditure and investment tax certificates for five separate projects. According to a state audit, the state issued excess tax credit certificates totaling $9,179,102 for Changing Horses projects.
In March a Polk County jury convicted Brouse of fraudulent practices in the first degree, a Class C felony, and acquitted him of first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct.
At Brouse’s sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand argued in court, “Fraud is not an impulsive crime. It is carefully planned, and only by punishing it with imprisonment can we possibly deter other would-be fraudsters from following through on their own plans.” District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg noted that Brouse’s premeditation, and the fact that Brouse has not shown remorse or accepted responsibility for his role, warranted prison time.
Following the sentencing, Deputy Attorney General Thomas H. Miller (no relation to Attorney General Thomas J. Miller) said, “We’re pleased with Judge Rosenberg’s decision and we’re pleased that our prosecutions in the Iowa Film Office matter on behalf of taxpayers continue to be successful. Our office will continue to follow through on every case until the job is done.”
Chad Witter, 38, of Bettendorf, primary accountant for Changing Horses and a tax credit broker for several film projects, is charged with five felonies, including ongoing criminal conduct, two counts of first-degree fraud and two counts of first-degree theft. Witter’s trial is scheduled to begin July 23.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.