U.S. Marshal: NH tax evaders arrested

KATHY MCCORMACK | ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

CONCORD, N.H. — A couple convicted of tax evasion were arrested peacefully at their Plainfield home Thursday night after holing up at the fortress-like compound for months, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Ed and Elaine Brown were convicted on federal tax charges in January and refused to turn themselves in to authorities when they were sentenced in April to five years and three months in prison.

It was not immediately clear how they were taken into custody.

“We had no indication that the Browns intended to voluntarily surrender, so we had to move forward with an operation that promised the safest possible outcome. That day was today,” U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said in a news release.

Ed Brown, 65, and his wife, 67, have claimed the federal income tax is not legitimate.

Earlier this year, officials cut power and telephone service in an effort to ratchet up pressure on the couple convicted of scheming to avoid federal income taxes by hiding $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003.

After abandoning his federal trial and retreating to his home on 103 wooded acres, Ed Brown repeatedly said that any attempts to arrest him would result in a violent confrontation.

The home is on an isolated dirt road and includes a turret that offers a 360-degree view of the property and a driveway that is sometimes barricaded with sport utility vehicles.

Heavily armed police surrounded the home in June while they seized commercial property the couple owned in a neighboring town. SWAT teams, military and explosives vehicles marshaled in the tiny town and sparked rumors of a raid.

The Marshals Service said it was only for surveillance.

The arrests “will be a relief to everyone in the community,” state Agriculture Commissioner Stephen Taylor, a Plainfield resident, said Thursday night. “This has been such a distraction to everybody.”

A message left for Elaine Brown’s son, David Hatch-Bernier of Worcester, Mass., was not immediately returned.

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