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Geoff Greenwood, Communications Director
515-281-6699, geoff.greenwood@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, August 5, 2011

Elgin Enters Guilty Plea in Film Office Criminal Case

 

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller Friday entered into a plea agreement with an Iowa film producer charged in the Iowa Film Office case.  Bruce Elgin, 42, of Washington, pleaded guilty in Polk County District Court to the charge of Tampering with Records, an aggravated misdemeanor.  As part of the plea, Miller agreed to drop all other charges against Elgin, including Ongoing Criminal Conduct (Class B felony), two counts of First-Degree Theft (Class C felony), and two counts of Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony).

Elgin has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and prosecutions related to the Iowa Film Office and the state’s former film tax credit program.  His sentencing date has not been set.

Elgin, who was previously charged as Bruce Heppner-Elgin, is co-owner of Iowa Film Production Services and was a producer of the film “Splatter” and a writer, director and producer of the film “The Offering.”  According to a 2010 investigation by the Auditor of State, Elgin’s Iowa Film Production Services claimed tax credits for more than $7.8 million in non-qualifying expenses, including $1.3 million for which the Auditor found no proof of payment.

Previously, Chase Brandau, Matthias Saunders, and Wendy Weiner Runge entered into plea agreements connected with the company Polynation Pictures and the production of the film “The Scientist.”  Miller agreed to drop charges against Zachary LeBeau, who was also charged in connection with “The Scientist,” in exchange for his cooperation in Iowa Film Office and Iowa film tax credit-related investigations and prosecutions.

Thomas Wheeler, 42, of Indianola, the former director of the Iowa Film Office, is scheduled to go on trial August 15 in Polk County District Court.  Wheeler, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with three counts of Felonious Misconduct in Office (Class D felony), three counts of Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony), and Conspiracy (Class D felony).

Dennis Brouse, 60, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, owner of Changing Horses Productions, is charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct (Class B felony), Theft in the First Degree (Class C felony), and Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony).  Brouse, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on March 15, 2012 in Polk County District Court.

Chad Witter, 38, of Bettendorf, a tax credit broker, is charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct (Class B felony), two counts of Theft in the First Degree (Class C felony), and two counts of Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony).  Witter, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on April 16, 2012 in Polk County District Court.

Harel Goldstein (A/K/A Harel Gold, A/K/A Kevin Ward), 50, of Calabasas, California, a movie distributor and producer of the film “Underground,” has been charged with Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony), Forgery (Class D felony), and Conspiracy (Class D felony).  Goldstein has not made a court appearance in Iowa and his trial date has not been set.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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