The three-year-old federal case against Hood River entrepreneur Jim Cole reached a landmark Wednesday at U.S. Federal Court in Portland.
A Portland jury ruled that the federal government may keep the $700,000 in cash and other assets seized from Cole, in 2011.
According to a report by Bryan Denson of OregonLive.com, The Oregonian website, the eight-person jury deliberated for about four hours before finding that the assets could be traced to mail or wire fraud perpetrated by Cole’s companies Maxam Laboratories and TurboSonic USA,
The assets include bank accounts, gold bars and Kruggerand coins, a Toyota pickup, and interest in a home.
The government has accused Cole of misrepresenting his Maxam and TurboSonic products as curatives for autism, herpes, varicose veins, and more.
U.S. Attorney Katie Dorenz said she expects more legal proceedings against Cole.
According to Denson’s report, the government has filed an injunction to shut down Maxam Laboratories permanently, or until it stops selling products in violation of federal law.
Cole also faces criminal charges that he filed false tax statements from 2007-09.
According to OregonLive, Cole’s legal team called seven witnesses who testified that Cole’s products made them healthier “and sometimes in miraculous ways,” quoting Boston attorney John J.E. Markham II, who represented Cole.
Markham said both Cole’s companies remain in business, and told the reporter, “We’re going to have to make peace with the FDA and we look forward to doing that.”
Denson quoted Cole as saying he had done business for 22 years without complaints, and “I’m not very happy with it,” Cole said of the jury’s decision.
Cole is owner of the former Big Gym on West Cascade. The facility is now under new ownership and a new name, Power Station.